Asbestos diseases affect the lung and pleura, normally caused by long-term inhalation of tiny airborne asbestos fibres. Take our 30-second test to see if you can make a claim for asbestos diseases.
Asbestos diseases and who is affected
There are a number of common asbestos diseases, including non-malignant varieties such as pulmonary fibrosis (asbestosis), pleural effusion, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and malignant varieties such as cancer of the lungs and mesothelioma.
Those who have worked in the building or building maintenance trades are considered to be at the highest risk of contracting an asbestos disease. It is also possible for asbestos diseases to be ‘inherited’ indirectly by people in close contact to those who have been working in high risk asbestos-environments. For example, a worker may have brought significant quantities of asbestos fibres into the family home on work clothes.
Exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres in this way is called para-occupational exposure. Every employer is legally obliged to have Health and Safety procedures in place which assess risks in the workplace and take steps to prevent injury to their employees. They are also required to hold public liability insurance to cover any claims for compensation in the unfortunate event that an employee or visitor is injured in the workplace. When workers are exposed to harmful materials over the duration of their careers, illnesses can develop many years later. Work injuries claims for asbestosis have been widely documented.
In addition asbestos disease can be contracted as a consequence of environmental, non-occupational, exposure. Asbestos features in many older buildings (prior to the restriction on the use of asbestos via Building Regulations) and working for long periods of time in buildings where there is a risk asbestos has been disturbed, through maintenance or modification can carry an increased risk of asbestos disease.
How is asbestos disease caused?
Airborne, microscopic, asbestos fibres enter respiratory tracts through the nose and mouth. The natural filtering ability of the nasal passage and throat filter out some of the fibres, but some are too fine to filter and can enter into the alveoli and into the lungs – where they can lay for many, many years before causing any issues.
The lungs themselves have a form of defence against the fibres, which the body recognises as foreign bodies, and the lung’s immune system is activated, which over time causes cell damage and inflammation. Some of the smaller fibres lying in the lungs can, in time, move into pleural and peritoneal areas. Eventually, fibrosis or malignancy can develop, leading to asbestos diseases.
Can you claim compensation?
Accident Advice Helpline’s solicitors are experts in dealing with asbestos disease compensation claims and operate a 100% no-win, no-fee* policy. If you don’t win your case, you pay nothing. Starting your compensation claim with us is quick, simple and risk-free. Call us today on 0800 689 0500 from a landline, or on 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.
Date Published: 9th July 2013
Author: Louise Thacker
Category: Asbestos claims