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What are Dust Diseases? - Article #1

What are Dust Diseases? – Article #1

Published on May 26, 2021 by Sabrina Morell and Scott DougallSabrina Morell and Scott Dougall

Dust diseases are chronic lung illnesses such as asbestosis, silicosis or mesothelioma which are caused by inhaling harmful dust particles including asbestos, crystalline silica, cotton and hard metals like cobalt.

These harmful particles are typically inhaled by people who work in industries which:

  • Create dust particles when sanding, cutting or grinding substances which naturally contain silica including rock, sand, clay and stone; or
  • Disturb dust particles whilst renovating or demolishing buildings which contain asbestos or are exposed to deteriorating asbestos products.

Exposure – including that over prolonged periods – to harmful dust particles result in the hardening, thickening and scarring of the lungs which ultimately stops their proper functioning. This process takes many years to cause noticeable deterioration of the lungs and is therefore rarely detected until long after the exposure. Dust diseases are also particularly difficult to detect as their symptoms resemble other common respiratory illnesses with symptoms including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent coughing
  • Mucus in the airways
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain

If you may have been exposed to harmful dust particles and believe you may be suffering from a dust disease, click here to find out whether you are eligible to claim compensation.

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