What does Talcosis mean for dust disease claims?

PUBLISHED 18 Feb 2016

There are many dangers facing NSW's workforce. While some of them are obvious and easy to manage, such as working from heights or with dangerous machinery, others are subtle but often even more dangerous.

Dust diseases are some of the most deadly a person can develop as they greatly limit the effectiveness of a person's respiratory system. The NSW government notes that, while there is a range of common causes and symptoms, there are many unique variants of these diseases that pose specific dangers.

Talcosis is one such example and can lead to dust disease claims for people who develop the affliction.

What is Talcosis?

Talcosis is a dust disease, which means it belongs to a specific class of afflictions that commonly affect workers around the country. Broadly speaking, any disease that is caused by the inhalation of fibres and results in breathing difficulties and lung damage can be considered part of this group.

Specifically, Talcosis is caused by inhaling talc that is mixed with silicates. As these substances get trapped in the respiratory system, they prevent it from operating effectively.

What causes Talcosis?

Talc is an important component of medicinal tablets. While the substance is intended for consumption with these pills, if they are ground up or dissolved in any way, they can become dangerous. In these cases, breaking down the tablets releases the dangerous silicate and increases the risk of inhalation.

Once the substance is trapped in the lungs or airways, it works to block the respiratory system, leading to many of the symptoms that characterise dust diseases.

How does Talcosis present itself?

People developing the disease risk succumbing to a range of different symptoms. As it impacts a person's respiratory system, it's common for people with Talcosis to develop a persistent dry cough and unintentional weight loss.

On top of this, the normal range of symptoms common to dust diseases also applies. These include abnormal breathing habits, chest pain and increased production of mucus which can then get trapped in people's airways.

Who is at risk of developing Talcosis?

Like other dust diseases, Talcosis develops when certain materials are disturbed in the workplace, making them easy to inhale. People who have worked around pills where magnesium silicate or talc were present are at risk of developing the disease if they had an opportunity to breathe the materials in.

The lawyers at Gerard Malouf and Partners operate on a no win no fee basis. Contact them today to discuss the specifics of your claim.

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