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PLEURAL PLAQUES and PLEURAL CALCIFICATION  are markers of exposure and may develop 10 to 20 years after initial exposure. Plaques are opaque patches visible on ches x-rays that consist of dense strands of connective tissue surrounded by cells. All commercial types of asbestos include plaques. Plaques can occur even when fibrosis is absent and do not seem to reflect the severity of pulmonary disease.