Diseases caused by asbestos and silica are the most well known dust diseases.  However, inhalation of substantial quantaties of any dust has been known to be harmful to health for centuries.  Many dusts cause diseases.

Dust diseases are frequently described by reference to the dust that caused them.  Where these conditions have arisen in the course of employment, they are often compensible.  Claims may be brought at common law or under various statutory schemes.

Segelov Taylor is able to provide advice and assistance to anyone suffering a dust disease.

Black Lung

Black lung, or Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis is caused by long-term exposure to coal dust. It primarily affects coal miners and others who work with coal and graphite products. It is quite similar to chronic silicosis.

Black lung is generally diagnosed by chest x-ray or CT scan in conjunction with an industrial history of exposure to coal or graphite dust.

The symptoms of black lung include shortness of breath, coughing and chronic bronchitis.  In some cases progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) can also develop.  PMF can be fatal.

Occupational Asthma

Occupational asthma is asthma (whether a new diagnosis or recurrence of previously dormant asthma) caused by exposure to an agent at the workplace. Exposure to an agent at work may also exacerbate an existing asthma condition. The agent may be a chemical, plant or animal organism, metal or wood dust, chemical or irritant such as a irritant gas, aerosol, vapor or smoke. Where a person has an exposure to a high concentration of an irritant they may develop an acute reaction including reactive airways dysfunction syndrome.

The occupations most at risk include handlers (e.g. acrylate), animal handlers and veterinarians (animal proteins), bakers and millers (cereal grains), carpet makers (gums), electronics workers (soldering resin), forest workers, carpenters and cabinetmakers (wood dust), hairdressers (e.g. persulfate), health care workers (latex and chemicals such as glutaraldehyde ), cleaners (e.g. chloramine-T), pharmaceutical workers (drugs, enzymes), seafood processors, shellac handlers (e.g. amines), solderers and refiners (metals), spray painters, insulation installers, plastics and foam industry workers (e.g. diisocyanates), textile workers (dyes) and users of plastics and epoxy resins.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest tightness, cough, sputum production and wheezing. Some patients may also develop upper airway symptoms such as itchy eyes, tearing, sneezing, nasal congestion and runny nose.

Farmer’s Lung

Farmer’s lung is a disease caused by an allergy to the mould in hay spores and other agricultural products.
Farmers lung can lead to a cough, fever, and shortness of breath.


Berylliosis is a chronic allergic-type lung response and chronic lung disease caused by exposure to beryllium and its compounds.  Beryllium is used in an alloy with other metals, particularly copper in nickel in technology, aero-space and other industries.

The exposure to beryllium can cause the development of small inflammatory nodules, called granulomas.  Berylliosis can lead to a restrictive lung disease with a cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms can include  chest pain, joint aches, weight loss, and fever.

Other Dust Diseases

Exposure to dusts can cause a wide variety of diseases including  bagassosis, byssinosis and talcosis.  These diseases are all quite rare but share common features.

Free Case Assessment

We offer a free initial case assessment in all dust diseases matters.

We will obtain preliminary information from you and advise you whether we believe you are likely to have a claim for compensation.  We will also provide some indicative advice as to the likely value of any claim, and our costs in the event you were to instruct us.

The case assessment may be by phone, via video conference (such as Zoom or Teams) or in person. There is no cost associated with this case assessment, nor any obligation to instruct us in your matter.

To arrange your free case assessment please complete the form below or contact us by phone or email.

Case Assessment form

Contact us

We are able to be contacted by phone, email, web chat or video conferencing.  We have offices in Melbourne and Sydney, and regularly see clients who are to unwell to travel in their homes or hospital (although this is limited at present due to Covid-19).  We act for people with asbestos diseases in every State in Australia as well people living overseas.

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