Exposure to asbestos can lead to serious diseases and sometimes even fatal diseases that manifest several years later. The Agency for Occupationnal Risks (Fedris) and the Asbestos fund (AFA) come to the assistance of the affected victims.
Inhalation of the fibres
The risks to health derive above all from inhalation of very fine asbestos fibres, which can penetrate deep into the lung tissues, into the alveoli. The degree of toxicity depends on the dimensions and morphology of the fibres, their chemical composition (crystal structure, surface characteristics) , the length of exposure and concentration of particles in the ambient air (which determine the quantities inhaled). Ingestion through water or food is also possible, but much less likely.
Five types of diseases are closely linked to asbestos. Establishing the diagnostic link was made difficult by the generally very lengthy latency period between exposure to asbestos and the appearance of the symptoms .
1. asbestosis: a type of pulmonary fibrosis, hardening the lungs so that they can no longer perform their oxygenation function. The condition develops between 10 and 20 years after exposure to asbestos. Of itself, the condition is not fatal, but it renders the sufferer more susceptible to infections.
2. pleural plaques: these are located on the pleura (between the chest wall and the lungs) and cause thickening on the rib side, but do not harm the respiratory functions of the lung. They develop between 15 and 20 years after exposure to asbestos.
3. mesothelioma: this is a malignant tumor that invades the pleura and reduces the volume of the lung. In general, mesothelioma only develops between 25 and 40 years after exposure to asbestos. The outcome is always fatal.
4. lung cancer: this develops in the interior of the bronchi between 15 and 25 years after exposure. Smoking considerably increases the risk of this type of cancer (50 times higher).
5. cancer of the larynx: it has recently been accepted that this form of cancer can be caused by asbestos
Information and compensation of the victims
The Agency for occupational diseases is meant for workers and acknowledges the conditions that manifest from contact with asbestos fibres . From the website of the Fund you can donwload:
- Recognition and compensation criteria of occupational diseases caused by asbestos
- Compensation form for occupational disease (FMP) meant to file a valid compensation request.
The Asbestos fund (AFA) was created within the Fund for occupational diseases. It is meant for patients already compensated, self-employed and people affected by the environment. Since 1 April 2007, the Asbestos fund has been granting compensation connected with asbestos and this rare pleural cancer i.e. mesothelioma, two serious illnesses that are caused only by exposure to asbestos.
Compensation form for asbestos related disease (AFA) is available on the website of the Asbestos fund and it also specifies the dispensation conditions of the fund.