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Asbestos-related diseases

Asbestos-related disease is caused by breathing in asbestos fibres, and often results in a scarring condition of the lung. The number of deaths from this condition shows no real signs of diminishing. The prevalence of the disease is a legacy from workers widespread exposure to asbestos in the 50s, 60s and 70s, when there was extensive use of the material in areas such as insulation and fire protection.

Millions of people were exposed to asbestos at work from the 1930s to the 1970s, particularly in working environments such as:

  • shipyards
  • construction sites
  • boiler and engine rooms
  • hospitals
  • power stations
  • boiler makers
  • glass factories.

Asbestos-related diseases are not limited to workers but can also affect members of their families, who may have developed an asbestos-related disease or cancer as a result of being exposed to asbestos fibres on work clothes.

The time between exposure to asbestos and the occurrence of lung cancer is often 20 to 30 years or more, but varies in every individual case. If the employer has gone out of business or is no longer operating, a claim for compensation can still be made against the insurance company which provided insurance at the time of the exposure.