Pleural fibrosis is an asbestos-related disease that is generally caused by exposure to a chemically and structurally unique type of material known as Libby amphibole asbestos.
“Asbestos” is actually a loose term that describes a few different kinds of fibers. A single strand of Libby amphibole asbestos can contain up to five different kinds of fibers, each with its own chemical composition.
These fibers tend to “cleave,” or break apart, rather easily – and that makes them particularly dangerous to people who have breathed those fibers in over the years. Many of those people go on to develop pleural fibrosis.
What is pleural fibrosis?
Pleural fibrosis (or pleural calcification) is the process by which the thin, flexible membrane that covers the lungs thickens and becomes stiffer than normal – and that ultimately makes breathing very difficult for the victim. In some cases, the pleura has to be removed (along with part of the lung), while other victims may become dependent on oxygen and develop related conditions, including cancer and mesothelioma.
While pleural fibrosis can be the result of inflammation, it is often the consequence of some long-ago exposure to asbestos fibers in the workplace. Pleural fibrosis can start up to 20 years or more after someone’s last exposure to asbestos.
The dangers of asbestos are well-known today – although, maybe not as much as they should or could be. In the past, however, many innocent workers and their family members were unwittingly exposed to a toxin that left a hidden time bomb in their lungs. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with pleural fibrosis, it may be time to find out more about the funds that are available to you.