Compensation and Recognition for Employees suffering from Asbestos related Diseases between 1978 and 2005. A Sociology of Law Approach.192 Exposure to asbestos fibres can cause the three following types of severe diseases: Mesothelioma is a rare, but fatal form of cancer that attacks the protective lining around the lungs, abdominal organs or heart. The course of the disease among most patients is rather similar. The majority of patients pass away within two years after diagnosis. The latency period, in contrast, is very long, with an average of 30-40 years. It is considered a monocausal disease, with asbestos exposure being the main factor; Asbestosis is a chronic form of black lung disease which causes scarring of the lung tissue and which makes the lung rigid. There are different stages to the disease, which cannot be cured. Almost half of all asbestosis patients pass away due to the development of a type of asbestos related cancer. The disease is considered mono-causal and the latency period is at least 15 years. There must have been a long lasting and high level of exposure to asbestos for the disease to develop at all; Lung cancer, a form of cancer that affects the lung tissue, is rife. The disease proves to be fatal for 85-90% of people who suffer from it, usually within a few years. The disease is considered multi-causal. Smoking tobacco is by far the most important cause of the disease. It can also be caused by hazardous materials like asbestos or by air pollution. There is only epidemiological proof for the causal relationship between asbestos exposure and lung cancer. Asbestos exposure increases the risk of lung cancer independently of smoking habits. It is still being discussed whether or not the risk of developing lung cancer is increased when those two causes are combined, or that the risk is being multiplied. Consensus about the exact amount of asbestos exposure required to cause lung cancer does not exist either, although there is agreement that this has to be higher than is the case with mesothelioma. The average latency period is unknown, although an estimation of 15 to 20 years is usually assumed.

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Boom, Prof. Mr. W.H. van (promotor)
W.H. van Boom (Willem)
Erasmus University Rotterdam , Wolf Legal Publishers, Nijmegen (
Erasmus School of Law

Peeters, M. G. P. (2007, June 29). Compensatie en erkenning voor werknemers met asbestziekten tussen 1978 en 2005: een rechtssociologisch onderzoek. Retrieved from