Former members of the United States armed forces – especially those who were military members during the widespread use of asbestos – face increased risks for developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. In fact, statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) show that military veterans make up roughly a third of all new mesothelioma diagnoses in America. A large portion of these veterans were members of the U.S navy.
Veterans who served from the 1940s to the 1980s are considered most at risk from developing mesothelioma and other associated problems related to asbestos exposure. Most veterans diagnosed today were first exposed to asbestos during the Korean or Vietnam wars.
Because asbestos is a substance valued for its durability and flame resistance, it was valuable to all branches of the military. Below you can find more information about asbestos and mesothelioma risks for veterans:
Transportation & buildings – Asbestos was commonly found in many modes of military transportation, including ships and boats, tanks, aircrafts, and various motor vehicles. Asbestos was often a component in wiring insulation and brake pads, as well as in military housing and other buildings on military bases.
Navy – Hundreds of products used by the military contained asbestos, especially ships built by the Navy. According to researchers, nearly no portion of naval ships built from the 30s to 70s was asbestos-free and shipyards were filled with materials and products that contained asbestos.
Military jobs – The VA lists a number of military jobs in which workers faced increased risks of asbestos exposure. These jobs include shipyard work, pipefitting, mining, carpentry and construction, vehicle maintenance, demolition work, and manufacturing, among others. It’s also important to consider that many veterans were skilled technicians who used their training to work as skilled trade workers in the civilian sector. Civilian jobs such as plumbers, electricians, construction, and mechanics involve high risks of asbestos exposure.
Because the mesothelioma risks veterans faced while serving in the military are well-known and well-documented, the VA specifically assists vets who were diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. Veterans who wish to pursue compensation from the VA will need to prove that their disease is asbestos related and service connected.
If you have questions about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma – including exposure during military service – call the Nemeroff Law Firm to speak personally with a mesothelioma attorney. Consultations are FREE and confidential.