The most commonly know respiratory illness is asbestos-related but it also include lung disease (example COPD or cancer), mesothelioma and pleural thickening. These may be contracted due to working in an environment which has exposed you to hazardous substances.


This is a type of cancer that is usually associated with exposure to asbestos, in most cases mesothelioma develops in the lungs, this is due to the inhalation of asbestos fibres, however mesothelioma can also develop in the abdomen.

Symptoms can include, pain in the chest or lower back, cough, fever, unexpected weight loss, swelling of the arms or/and face, fatigue, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, trouble swallowing and/or hoarseness. These symptoms can take as long as 50 years to develop.

Although mesothelioma is commonly known as a work-related illness there have been confirmed cases where an exposed workers family members have been diagnosed, this is due to them being exposed via fibres on the workers clothing.


This is a long term condition caused by inhalation of asbestos over a prolonged period of time, it causes serious inflammation and scarring of the lungs.

Pleural thickening

Also known as diffuse pleural thickening (DPT). A lung disease that thickens the lining of the lungs with extensive scarring, the main cause of which being exposed to asbestos. The condition cannot be cured but can be managed, it is known to cause chest pain and breathing difficulties and is one of the most commonly diagnosed respiratory illness caused from exposure to asbestos.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

This group of lung conditions are common in smokers and cause breathing difficulties, however some COPD cases are caused due to inflamed, narrowed or damaged lungs due to exposure to harmful chemicals, dust and fumes.

Lung cancer

Exposure to harmful and hazardous substances known as carcinogenic chemical is one of the main causes for lung cancer. It begins by getting in to the bloodstream via ingestion, contact with the skin or inhalation, this then causes changes in the lungs which can cause the development of a cancerous malignant tumour/s. Common carcinogens related to industrial disease are, asbestos, soot, coal, smoke, diesel engine exhaust, coke, arsenic, pesticides, the production/welding of metals such as aluminium, iron and steel and silica dust.

Symptoms usually persist more when a tumour is quite developed, these symptoms can include, chest pain, shortness of breath, unexpected weight loss, cough and fatigue.

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