Inhalation Toxicology 2015 June 15 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Maxim LD, Niebo R, Utell MJ.


This review summarizes the literature on the relation between the development of pleural plaques and non-malignant and malignant disease in cohorts exposed to asbestos and other fibers. The available evidence indicates that, absent any other pleural disease, the presence of pleural plaques does not result in respiratory symptoms or clinically significant impacts on lung function. For certain types of asbestos, the development of pleural plaques is statistically correlated with malignant disease, but the evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that pleural plaques without other pleural disease are a marker of exposure, rather than an independent risk factor. Pleural plaques have also developed in cohorts exposed to other fibers that have not proven to be carcinogenic. Risk analyses should be based on the avoidance of known adverse conditions, rather than pleural plaques per se.