October 2, 2008
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Cosentino North America has ceased funding of and disengaged itself from BuildClean, a Houston, TX, organization. Although BuildClean’s Web site states that its mission is to “educate consumers and the building industry about safe, healthy and environmentally friendly materials,” it has thus far limited its focus solely on promoting a possible connection between granite and dangerous levels of radon - a connection that has been refuted with abundant scientific evidence.

“Whereas we agree in principal with [BuildClean’s stated] mission, we have decided to direct our resources and collaborate within the industry,” said Roberto Contreras, President and CEO of Cosentino North America.

Further, Cosentino announced the expansion of its granite slab processing plant in Vitoria, Brazil. The expansion will triple the plant’s capacity and increase production to more than 350 containers of slab material per month. The increased capacity should be completed and on line in the fourth quarter of this year.

According to Contreras, this investment demonstrates Cosentino’s commitment to the stone industry at a time when questions have been raised regarding the safety of granite use for indoor applications. “For more than a year, Cosentino has voluntarily tested numerous granite colors in independent scientific laboratories,” he said. “Our findings have revealed that the majority of granites tested are absolutely safe for indoor applications.”

In addition, Contreras announced that Cosentino is partnering with the Stone Fabricators Alliance (SFA) to further industry research and testing standards in a responsible manner that is beneficial to the stone industry. “The Stone Fabricator’s Alliance (SFA) is an organization dedicated to the sustainability of the stone industry, improving standards, and educating consumers,” he said. “We are aligned with the SFA’s values, and this partnership is a call to action to the rest of the industry.”

“SFA members are leaders in the industry,” said Ronald Hannah, Executive Director of the SFA. “We lead through example - in education, in safety, and ultimately, customer satisfaction. Simply put, consumer safety is our number one priority. This partnership will benefit the consumer, the American fabricator and help restore trust in the stone industry.”

Meanwhile, another major BuildClean sponsor - engineered stone producer Cambria of Eden Prairie, MN - is facing major backlash from members of the North American stone fabrication community. Numerous fabricators of natural stone and engineered stone products are calling for a boycott of Cambria products in public forums, and many reported that they have removed all Cambria samples from their showrooms. As of press time, Cambria’s Director of Marketing Operations, Peter Martin, is still listed by BuildClean as an active board member for the organization.

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