Posts Tagged ‘Plaques’

Scottish Pleural Plaques Compensation Bill to Overturn House of Lords Ruling

Scottish Pleural Plaques Compensation Bill to Overturn House of Lords Ruling


The Scottish government has amended its proposed bill on pleural plaques, a condition caused by exposure to asbestos, to ensure that all symptomless victims can claim for damages, including those with asymptomatic asbestosis or pleural thickening.

The bill seeks to overturn the House Of Lords’ decision in October 2007 that pleural plaques is not a disease, which left thousands of sufferers ineligible for compensation. Previously pleural plaques sufferers were able to seek awards of up to £15,000. This ruling is thought to have saved the insurance industry around £1.4 billion and has led to sustained pressure from some MPs, campaign groups and unions, who believe that the workers should be compensated for a medical condition that was sustained through no fault of their own.

Pleural plaques are areas of fibrosis or scars on the lung tissue on the inner surface of the ribcage and diaphragm caused by long term to exposure to asbestos. While the disease itself is usually benign, around one in seven people affected by pleural plaques will go on to develop mesothelioma, the aggressive form of lung cancer almost always caused by occupational exposure to asbestos.

Mesothelioma causes thickening of the lining of lungs and will eventually lead to tumours developing; unfortunately it is untreatable and is always fatal. The prognosis for those who develop the disease is very poor, with roughly a two-year life expectancy after diagnosis.

Symptoms may not appear for 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Consequently there have been a rising number of mesothelioma claims over the last few years, as those exposed to asbestos when there was no health and safety guidance on handling asbestos are now developing the disease. It is thought that the number of mesthelioma cases will peak in 2020 with over 10,000 dying from the disease.

The insurance industry has been shocked by the bill and reacted angrily. If the bill becomes law, pleural plaques claims could run into millions of pounds in Scotland alone and could put additional pressure on the English Government to look again at the House of Lords decision. However, it is the insurance industry’s contention that pleural plaques is a symptomless disease and does not necessarily lead to asbestos related diseases.

Nick Starling, Director of General Insurance and Health at the ABI, said: “There is medical agreement, as today’s Bill confirms, that pleural plaques are symptomless, do not impact on a person’s health and do not develop into asbestos related diseases. To compensate for pleural plaques would fly in the face of accepted medical opinion, the Law Lords ruling and common sense.”

Asbestos campaigners welcomed the decision, with Community Safety Minister, Fergus Ewing commenting, “We should not turn our back on these people. That is why the Scottish Government has taken urgent steps to overrule the House of Lords judgement and ensure that people with pleural plaques can continue to raise an action for damages.”

If you or someone you know has mesothelioma, it is important that they seek the immediate assistance of an experienced claims solicitor so that you can bring the claim to court as soon as possible and that money is made available during the lifetime of the injured party. is run by a non-practising Personal Injury Solicitor with over 14 years personal injury claims experience.

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Lung Function Plaques and Asbestos Related Diseases

Lung Function Plaques and Asbestos Related Diseases

There has been a great deal of important research conducted examining the link between asbestos exposure in the workplace and disease development.  One important study is called, “Asbestos-related pleural plaques and lung function” by L. Christine Oliver, MD, Ellen A. Eisen, ScD, Reginald Greene, MD, Nancy L. Sprince, MD – American Journal of Industrial Medicine – Volume 14 Issue 6, Pages 649 – 656.  Here is an excerpt: “Abstract – The present study examines the association between asbestos-related pleural plaques and lung function in a group of workers with occupational exposure to asbestos. Exposure, smoking, and respiratory histories, chest radiographs, flow-volume loops, and single breath DLCOs were obtained on 383 railroad workers. A score based on the ILO-1980 classification system was used to quantify the extent of plaquelike thickening. In order to eliminate potential confounders, we excluded from final analysis subjects with diffuse pleural thickening (n = 10) or small irregular opacities classified as profusion 0/1 or greater (n = 6) on chest radiograph. Definite pleural plaques were observed in 22.6%. The single breath DLCO was similar in the groups with and without plaques (p = 0.0550). Decrement in FVC and the occurrence of pulmonary restriction were associated with the presence of definite plaques (p = 0.0306 and 0.0431, respectively) and with quantitative pleural score (p = 0.0135 and 0.0126), controlling for duration of asbestos exposure and smoking. A test for trend revealed an association between level of diagnostic certainty (none, suspect, definite) for pleural plaques and these measures of lung function (p < 0.02). Our findings reveal an association between asbestos-related pleural plaques and decrement in lung function as measured by FVC and criteria for pulmonary restriction.”

A second article is called, “Ecological association between asbestos-related diseases and historical asbestos consumption: an international analysis” by R. Lin, K. Takahashi, A. Karjalainen, T. Hoshuyama, D. Wilson, T. Kameda, C. Chan, C. Wen, S. Furuya, and T. Higashi – The Lancet, Volume 369, Issue 9564, Pages 844-849.  Here is an excerpt: “Abstract – Background – The potential for a global epidemic of asbestos-related diseases is a growing concern. Our aim was to assess the ecological association between national death rates from diseases associated with asbestos and historical consumption of asbestos. Methods – We calculated, for all countries with data, yearly age-adjusted mortality rates by sex (deaths per million population per year) for each disease associated with asbestos (pleural, peritoneal, and all mesothelioma, and asbestosis) in 2000–04 and mean per head asbestos consumption (kg per person per year) in 1960–69. We regressed death rates for the specified diseases against historical asbestos consumption, weighted by the size of sex-specific national populations.

Findings – Historical asbestos consumption was a significant predictor of death for all mesothelioma in both sexes (adjusted R2=0•74, p<0•0001, 2•4-fold [95% CI 2•0–2•9] mortality increase was predicted per unit consumption increase for men; 0•58, p<0•0001, and 1•6-fold [1•4–1•9] mortality increase was predicted for women); for pleural mesothelioma in men (0•29, p=0•0015, 1•8-fold [1•3–2•5]); for peritoneal mesothelioma in both sexes (0•54, p<0•0001, 2•2-fold [1•6–2•9] for men, 0•35, p=0•0008, and 1•4-fold for women [1•2–1•6]); and for asbestosis in men (0•79, p<0•0001, 2•7-fold [2•2–3•4]). Linear regression lines consistently had intercepts near zero.”  If you found any of these excerpts interesting, please read the studies in their entirety.  We all owe a debt of gratitude to these researchers.