WE Solicitors have been successful in securing compensation for a retired former labourer who was employed with a company called Valden between 1988 and 1989. He was employed demolishing the old Norweb offices in Burnley, Lancashire and old cotton mills.
Asbestos was widely used in the construction industry for decades until its importation and use was completely banned in 2000. Part of our client’s job was to knock down the suspended ceilings and partition walls inside the buildings, many of which contained asbestos.
Many years later our client started having breathing difficulties and after extensive tests he was advised that he had pleural thickening and was diagnosed with a significant disability. Pleural thickening is damage and thickening of the wall between the lungs and rib-cage.
It can take around 10 – 20 years from when a person is first exposed to asbestos until pleural thickening is detected on a chest x-ray.
The symptoms of diffuse pleural thickening vary considerably from person to person. When the membrane is scarred and thickened it becomes constricted and less elastic, which can cause the sufferer to have shortness of breath. Chest pain and tightness in the chest, particularly during or after exertion, are also common. In some cases the symptoms can be severe and debilitating, whereas in others the symptoms are more manageable.
There are other conditions which can mimic pleural thickening such as rib fractures and pleural bleeding, tuberculosis and pneumonia with empyema and rheumatoid disease and it is therefore essential that anyone experiencing breathing difficulties who may have been exposed to asbestos informs their doctor.
Unfortunately where a diagnosis of asbestos related pleural thickening is reached, a person is normally at around a 1 – 5% risk of developing a further asbestos related disease such as mesothelioma.