Dr. Pamela Abernethy, an insurance lawyer with the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, claimed that pleural plaques were a “good thing”, and that they showed the efficiency of the body’s natural defense system to prevent foreign particles in the lungs from doing damage to the rest of the body. Pleural plaques are a scarring of the lungs’ pleural linings, most often caused by asbestos inhalation. Dr. Abernethy was presenting her expert advice to the Scottish Parliament in discussions concerning passing legislation to assist those afflicted with pleural plaques. Concerns that the pending legislation would send the “wrong message” to the public led to the presentation from Dr. Abernethy. The arguments from the insurance lawyer held that the pleural plaques develop to trap foreign particles to prevent them from doing further damage to the lungs. Dr. Abernethy is quoted as saying, “My submission is that plaques are a good thing — they don’t cause harm. Harm is something which is pathological in the body, when you get damage and you usually get symptoms.
These plaques are markers of exposure to asbestos .” She holds that it is the same testimony she gave to the House of Lords when they passed legislation preventing those with pleural plaques from being compensated. The Scottish Parliament’s justice committee’s hearing is seeking to overturn that law with the Holyrood bill. P Proponents of the Holyrood bill to allow payments to those with pleural plaques insist that the plaques are evidence that the patient has been exposed to asbestos which could later develop into a life threatening disease such as asbestosis or mesothelioma. Most diseases caused by asbestos exposure do not manifest themselves until 30 to 40 years later, the pleural plaques can develop much sooner. Many believe that the plaques can be indicators for an increased risk of developing future illnesses caused by asbestos.