Asbestos Exposure

11 March 2019

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a fibrous material that is resistant to heat, fire and many chemicals. Due to its fire resistant and insulating properties it was often used to line car brakes, pipework, homes, schools, offices and hospitals. Although the use of some types of asbestos has been banned in the UK from 1985 it can still be found in many buildings and certain types of asbestos were still being used right up until 1999.

In its natural form it is not dangerous it is when the asbestos is disturbed and asbestos fibres become airborne and are inhaled or swallowed the fibres can become lodged in the soft tissues of the lung or abdomen.

What injuries can asbestos cause?

The pleura is the space in the area between the lungs and the chest wall. The most commonly known injury is mesothelioma this is cancer of the pleura; it can also cause lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural effusion (which is a build-up of fluid in the pleural space); or pleural plaques.

This can lead to a range of symptoms the most severe of which being death although it can also cause breathing problems, difficulties swallowing, sweating and tightness of chest.

In 2014 there were 2,515 death from mesothelioma and 431 deaths from other asbestos related diseases. This number has continuously increased since 1980 year on year. Many experts believe that this has now reached its peak.

Asbestos laying dormant

Once the asbestosis fibres attach to the soft tissues of the lung or the abdomen it will lay dormant for at least 10 years and for as long as 50 years. Therefore people who were exposed to asbestos prior to it being banned are still only now being diagnosed with an injury.

Pleural Plaques

In 2007 the Court of Appeal ruled that a person suffering with pleural plaques cannot be compensated. This decision was appealed to the House of Lords although they upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal.

It was deemed that pleural plaques in itself is not a debilitating disease and has little effect on a person’s health.


It is only upon diagnosis of a condition that a person can be compensated. Somebody can be exposed to asbestos without contracting an asbestos related disease. If you are suffering symptoms the initial step would always be making an appointment with you GP and getting a diagnosis.

Contact us

For further information about asbestos related diseases, contact our team of specialist solicitors at Curtis Law Solicitors who have the experience, knowledge and understanding to bring a claim where you are compensated fairly and at the earliest, it is only what you deserve!