Emphysema is a lung condition that causes shortness of breath. It involves damage of the walls of the air sacs (alveoli).  It is an incurable disease and once it develops, it cannot be reversed.  It is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD.

Emphysema usually develops after many years of tobacco smoking.  However, it can also be caused by breathing in particles of silica.  This mineral can be found in sand, quartz and many other types of natural rock as well as engineered stone (often used for kitchen, bathroom and laundry benchtops).  It can affect workers exposed to silica dust in jobs such as construction, demolition, road building, tunnelling, quarrying, cementing and mining.

The autopsy examinations of South African gold miners who were exposed to silica dust have shown an association between silica dust exposure and the degree of emphysema.

Clinicopathological and experimental studies suggest that breathing in silica dust may cause the development of COPD and emphysema, even in the absence of radiological signs of silicosis.

If you are a smoker, then several studies have shown that tobacco smoking can potentiate the effects of silica dust in the development of emphysema.

Am I entitled to claim compensation?

If you were exposed to silica dust and you were diagnosed with emphysema or COPD, you might be entitled to claim compensation.

Get in touch with us

If you would like to obtain advice about your entitlements and/or investigate a potential claim for compensation, please contact our dust diseases team on 02 8833 2500.

At Turner Freeman, we have specialist dust diseases lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements. Our dust diseases lawyers are located across NSW including offices in Parramatta, Wollongong and Newcastle.  We also travel to see clients at hospitals and their homes.

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