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Pleural Plaques are areas of thickening which occur on the parietal pleura, most commonly on the lower chest walls and diaphragm. These changes are visible on x-ray. In most cases a person will not be aware of pleural plaques, as they are commonly symptomless.
Plaques are simply a marker of asbestos exposure and usually do not develop until 20 years or more after first exposure to asbestos. Pleural plaques alone are not prejudicial to health, but because they are evidence of asbestos exposure, there is a risk of developing asbestosis or other asbestos related diseases.
For more than 20 years compensation was payable for pleural plaques. However, Employers’ Liability Insurers challenged the law in the House of Lords. On 17 October 2007 the House of Lords ruled that compensation should no longer be payable for symptomless pleural plaques.