Last edited 04/2023 and last reviewed 05/2023

Asbestosis is a pneumoconiosis caused by inhalation of asbestos fibres, classically causing a chronic, diffuse, interstitial fibrosis of the lung (1). Crocidolite - blue asbestos - is the most important type of asbestos in the aetiology of asbestosis and particularly, pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma.

Asbestos exposure increases the risk of bronchogenic carcinoma 5-fold. In exposed cigarette smokers, the risk is increased 55-fold (2). An asbestos-related increase is also observed in the incidence of gastric, colonic and renal adenocarcinoma, and of gastrointestinal lymphomas.

Under the UK Social Security Act of 1975 various conditions caused by asbestos exposure are eligible for industrial compensation, including bilateral diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis, mesothelioma and asbestos related carcinoma of the bronchus.


  1. Bhandari J, Thada PK, Sedhai YR. Asbestosis. [Updated 2021 Oct 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:
  2. Hammond EC, Selikoff IJ, Seidman H. Asbestos exposure, cigarette smoking and death rates. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1979;330:473-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1979.tb18749.x. PMID: 294198.