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Asbestos Knowledge Base

Asbestos Warts

Caused when the sharp fibres lodge in the skin and are overgrown causing callous-like growths which are benign.

Pleural Plaques

Discrete fibrous or partially calcified thickened area which can be seen on X-rays of individuals exposed to asbestos. They do not become malignant nor normally cause any lung impairment.

Diffuse Pleural Thickening

Similar to above and can sometimes be associated with asbestosis. Usually no symptoms shown but if extensive can cause lung impairment


Irreversible fibrosis or scarring of the lungs in which the tissue becomes less elastic, making breathing progressively more difficult. This is an industrial disease arising from high levels of exposure to asbestos fibres, including blue, brown and white. There is no risk of asbestosis from normal levels of environmental exposure to asbestos

Lung Cancer

An increased incidence of lung cancer has been found in people who work with asbestos and research suggests that both lung cancer and asbestosis do exhibit a dose response relationship. The three main types of asbestos can all cause lung cancer but blue and brown are considered to be more dangerous than white. It is also important to remember that people who are exposed to asbestos fibres and who smoke are at even greater risk of developing lung cancer than those who do not smoke. A lung cancer in an asbestos-exposed non-smoker has been a rarity.


A cancer of the inner lining of the chest or the abdominal wall. This cancer is generally shown to be due to exposure to asbestos in the workplace or to living in the same house as someone who works with asbestos. The risk of mesothelioma is not influenced by smoking. Although a threshold hasn't been established evidence shows that low/short exposures to asbestos fibres, primarily from blue and brown asbestos, have resulted in disease.