Asbestos Related Disease


Pleural Plaques


Localized areas of pleural thickening. They rarely cause symptoms and are usually incidental findings on a chest x-ray.


Diffuse Pleural Thickening


More widespread thickening of the pleura. This may prevent the lungs expanding fully, causing breathlessness. It may compress the lung, a situation known as folded lung or rounded atelectasis.




A disease of the lungs in which fibrous or scar tissue is progressively laid down. This makes the lungs stiff and inefficient at taking up oxygen so the sufferer becomes progressively more breathless.


Lung Cancer


Asbestos causes the same type of cancer that is caused by smoking. Asbestos and smoking together greatly increase the risk of lung cancer.


Malignant Mesothelioma 


A cancerous condition. It most often arises in the pleura but also in the peritoneum, and rarely in the pericardium and testis. It is almost always fatal.

Asbestos related Disease

by Dr Hans Hartung


Asbestos exposure can affect other areas of the body, including


  • the pleura, which is the membrane lining the chest cavity in which the lung lies;
  • the pericardium, which is the membrane surrounding the heart,
  • and of the peritoneum, which is the membrane lining the abdominal cavity.


State Benefits & Compensation


For the purposes of claiming Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit/State Compensation in the UK, you must be suffering from a prescribed’ disease.


List of prescribed diseases;

  • D1 – Asbestosis
  • D3 – Mesothelioma
  • D8 – Primary carcinoma of the lung where there is accompanying evidence of asbestosis
  • D8A– Primary carcinoma of the lung
  • D9 – Diffuse Pleural Thickening

Exposure to asbestos can also cause pleural plaques but you do not qualify for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or State (government) Compensation for this condition.


Other Conditions


There is some evidence to suggest that asbestos can also cause laryngeal cancer and may be implicated in causing pharyngeal, stomach and colorectal cancer…and conceivably a wide range of others. Asbestos: Effects on health of exposure to asbestos. Richard Doll and Julian Peto. HSE. 1985.pdf

All types of asbestos cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovary, and asbestosis. World Health Organisation. www.who

Across Europe 10 asbestos-related cancers are recognised; in the UK only two, lung cancer and mesothelioma, are prescribed. And it seems IIAC is content to see workers with eight of the 10 asbestos related cancers continue to miss out.

The UK Government advisory body the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) has not recommended that the UK Government add those ‘other’ conditions to the list of prescribed diseases for the purposes of claiming Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit & State (government) Compensation.


Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) and Asbestos – related Diseases Reports & Position Papers:

Last reviewed: March 2018

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.