'I've got the dust as well' : asbestos disease, litigation and laggers

'I've got the dust as well' : asbestos disease, litigation and laggers

Asbestos diseases are closely associated with cancer and death. They are therefore widely recognised for their insidious, fearsome and tainted nature. Through an examination of stress associated with disease, the paper explores the medical and legal framings of asbestos disease in the UK and complements them with an investigation of laggers’ (or thermal insulation engineers) personal and bodily experience of asbestos diseases. These emic perspectives are then contextualised through examination of the social and political-economic ramifications of disease and litigation in a context of increasing distrust of science and of authority. 

The paper argues that victims of asbestos-related diseases draw on – and extend – medical and statistical estimations of disease; but also challenge medical notions of cause and effect while advancing their perspective based on lived experience. The paper also shows that laggers are facing uncertain futures as a result of industrial exposure to asbestos, while their way of life and socio-economic standing is also under threat. 

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