You web browser may not be properly supported. To use this site and all its features we recommend using the latest versions of Chrome, Safari or Firefox

Asbestos exposure can cause life-threatening illnesses

Asbestos – which once had a reputation as one of the most useful and versatile minerals known to humanity – is now known to be an incredibly dangerous material.

It sometimes causes life-threatening illnesses, such as malignant mesothelioma, to those who are exposed to it.

At one point in history, asbestos was used in hundreds of products. While the use of asbestos declined from the 1980s, asbestos continued to be imported into Australia until January 2004.

As a result, many people in the community are likely to have been exposed to asbestos and some will develop an asbestos related disease. There is generally a period of 15 to 60 years between exposure to asbestos and the occurrence of disease.


Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that forms in the lining of the lungs on average 40 years after first exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma cancer develops from the mesothelial cells of the pleura and can also occur in the peritoneum.

Learn more about Mesothelioma

Asbestosis and pleural disease

Asbestosis is not a cancer like mesothelioma. It's a slow onset progressive disease that affects breathing by hardening and scarring the lung, and can be severely debilitating.

Also not a cancer, pleural disease is another slow onset progressive disease that can result in pain and breathlessness when the lining of the lungs hardens and constricts that is similar to asbestosis. This inhibits the capacity of the lungs to expand and contract and can affect people for many years.

Learn more about Asbestosis and pleural disease

Pleural plaques

Pleural plaques are not cancer. They are markings on the lining of the lung that indicate past exposure to asbestos. Pleural plaques can calcify or harden. Depending on their position and how extensive they are, pleural plaques can cause some pain and lung restriction. Usually pleural plaques are not disabling.

Lung cancer

There are about six different forms of lung cancer. All of them can be caused by exposure to asbestos, one of the most malignant being mesothelioma. Most lung cancer sufferers who were exposed to asbestos also smoked.

If you smoked, it's important to be aware of the fact that even if smoking may have contributed to your cancer, it does not prevent you from bringing a claim in relation to your asbestos exposure. In many cases, it's the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure that is the cause of lung cancer. So, even if smoking is a cause of your lung cancer, you may still have an asbestos claim.

If you've been exposed, you may have a claim

No matter how unique the circumstances of your exposure or even if you don't know how or when you were exposed, if you have an asbestos related disease, it is likely that you will have some kind of viable claim for compensation. Proper legal research and advice is essential.

We're proud to act for people from all walks of life, some with life-threatening asbestos related illnesses, others with illnesses that limit their enjoyment of life. If you have an asbestos related injury and the claim is worth your while, we'll be honoured to act for you.

Get in touch today and we can:

  • help you understand what you’re entitled to, at no initial cost or obligation

  • help you get compensation for your illness

  • simplify the entire process for you by coming to your home or hospital

  • help you work out how or when you were exposed. We'll conduct all necessary investigations and inquiries with the help of our database.

Thank you for your feedback.

More Information

We're here to help. Make an enquiry now.

If you have a question, want some more information or would just like to speak to someone, make an enquiry now and our Asbestos team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Call us on 1800 444 141