After an updated review, the UK’s Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) has issued a June 30, 2009 paper announcing that it continues to recommend against paying compensation for pleural plaques because plaques are not actually disabling. The IIAC announced online last fall that it was considering the topic and invited comments. The panel concluded that plaques should not be compensated as an industrial disease because the plaques are very seldom symptomatic and do not by themselves correlate to an increased risk of cancer. Instead, they are simply markers of past inhalation of asbestos fibers. The paper is 60 pages long, and includes a detailed review and table summary of medical literature on pleural plaques as they relate to disaility or cancer risk.
According to a very pro-claimant article in the Scotsman, the UK government will consider this report before meeting its self-imposed deadline of July 21 for stating a view on the pleural plaques consultation that was started last year. Specifically, the article states:
“Though the IIAC said its report was not meant to advise on the issue of civil compensation, the Ministry of Justice said its decision would be “informed” by the report, which would “make an important contribution to the debate”.