Regulations for Recognizing Diseases Caused By Exposure To Asbestos in Europe

Regulations for Recognizing Diseases Caused By Exposure To Asbestos in Europe

Recognizing diseases correctly is highly important in various types of asbestos issues. The nature of asbestos is not studied properly yet, there are a lot of scientific doubts regarding the link between asbestos and various diseases that are considered as asbestos-related. However, some facts in this area already have been confirmed and exposure to asbestos is officially stated to cause diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, etc. The range of today’s asbestos related diseases doesn’t cover all health problems that it can cause; it is limited only proven facts. In different European countries there are different practices for the order of recognizing the occupational nature of diagnosis and its linkage to contact with asbestos.

What is it needed for? Any occupational disease implies ability to file a claim for receiving compensation from employer responsible for health problems occurred at work. This compensation in Europe is mostly paid by insurance companies that require documented confirmation of the existence of such injury. After filing a claim for compensation an insurer will check the claimant’s diagnosis, assess the intensity and amount of exposure and will investigate the connection between exposure and diseases. The basic points of this procedure are common for the most of countries. However, each European country has its own regulations and requirements for proper occupational disease recognition.

Regarding asbestosis it is diagnosed by X-ray imaging. There are international standards for X-ray indication of different pneumoconiosis types including asbestosis. In the most of countries such diagnosis requires to prove the fact of long-lasting exposure to asbestos, but the measures of duration and concentration of asbestos dust often are not defined. Some countries state that latency period takes 10-15 years. The respiratory capacity changes also may serve for recognizing asbestosis in Denmark and Sweden. While in the rest of the countries this is not a symptom, but the consequence of the disease.

Another doubt in asbestos diseases recognition is lung cancer. There can be a lot of reasons for its development, and exposure to asbestos is only one of them. Among others are smoking, nickel, chromium exposure, etc. The disease itself can be diagnosed by numerous ways, but defying that it was caused by asbestos dust specifically for recognizing it as occupational disease is a problem. The most important point here is to define and prove the fact of asbestos exposure. In some countries lung cancer is considered as occupational disease of asbestos nature when the existence of intensive exposure is proven. Another way to prove this is asbestosis that preceded the development of cancer (the cancer here is a complication of asbestosis).

In some countries tobacco abuse causes a lot of doubts in defining the nature of disease. Smoking seriously damages lungs, and when there are some doubts about the existence of asbestos exposure and the patient is a smoker, in Denmark a claim can be rejected. In some countries the fact that a person smokes more than a pack of cigarettes per day for more than 10 years will influence on the amount of compensation for asbestos-related disease. In case of mesothelioma smoking is never taken into account.

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