A UK lawyer speaking to Scottish Parliament about draft legislation that is designed to help those with pleural plaques to get compensation stated that this condition, which is brought about by exposure to asbestos, was actually a good thing because it proved that the body’s defences were in good working order.

The legislation has been widely criticized by the insurance industry, which claims that the condition is not one that is serious or causes fatalities and should therefore not result in compensation being paid. The lawyer, Dr Pamela Abernethy, of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, stated: “The consensus is that pleural plaques are simply the body’s physiological response to the presence of foreign fibres.”

She added: “The body’s defence system is operating to prevent them from causing harm. My submission is that plaques are a good thing – they don’t cause harm. Harm is something which is pathological in the body, when you get damage and you usually get symptoms. These plaques are markers of exposure to asbestos.”

However, those that are supporting the legislation have said that the presence of pleural plaques proves that the person has been exposed to potentially deadly asbestos dust and fibers, and the condition could be seen as a time bomb as it could heighten the risk of developing the deadly asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma.

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