Jefferson University Hospitals


A scarring of the lungs can be caused by inhaling asbestos fibers, which become embedded in your airways. The exposure usually occurs in certain occupations such as ship building, navy yards, working with brake shoes, boiler insulation and demolition/remodeling of old buildings.

The lung disease takes several decades to develop and the severity depends on how long you were exposed to asbestos and the amount you inhaled. The condition typically produces characteristic changes on a chest X-ray such as pleural plaques, lung scarring and fluid in the lungs before patients have any problems.

Asbestos, together with smoking, increases the risk of cancer such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. Although there is no cure for asbestosis (prevention is the best therapy), Jefferson pulmonologists can clearly establish a diagnosis and offer assistance with interaction with employers and disability benefits.