UK Asbestos Deaths and Illnesses | Still on the increase

Non-malignant pleural disease

Non-malignant pleural disease is a non cancerous condition affecting the outer lining of the lung (the pleura). It includes two forms of disease: diffuse pleural thickening and the less serious pleural plaques. A substantial number of cases continue to occur each year in Great Britain, mainly due to workplace asbestos exposures.

The latest information shows:

  • There were 430 new cases of pleural thickening assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit in 2015 (IIDB).
  • The annual number has been fairly constant over the last 10 years, with an average of around 430 new cases per year (IIDB).
  • An estimated 564 new cases of non-malignant pleural disease mainly caused by asbestos were reported by chest physicians in 2015. A substantial proportion of these were cases of pleural plaques (THOR).
  • Pleural plaques are usually symptomless and are often identified in the THOR scheme when individuals have chest x-rays for other conditions.
  • For these reasons, there are likely to be substantially more individuals in the population with pleural plaques than those identified by chest physicians.

Source: HSE Asbestos Related Diseases Last updated 2019