Veterans and Mesothelioma
Veterans are some of the hardest working people in the United States. Every day they risk their very lives to protect the country from those who would wish to do us harm, so it is tragic when veterans are exposed to hidden dangers that it may have been possible to avoid. One such hidden danger is being exposed to toxic materials.
Toxic materials are not only present on the battlefield, but they have been found on military bases, in barracks and in vehicles located inside and outside the borders of the United States.
One toxic substance to which hundreds of thousands or even millions of soldiers have been exposed is asbestos. Asbestos had been used in the military extensively for most of the 20th century. During World War II, many new ships were built for the Navy. Asbestos was a required material on these ships.
Asbestos in the Military
Asbestos was also used in military buildings and many other types of vehicles because it is very effective as a form of insulation, and it is nearly indestructible. It is also very plentiful as a natural mineral that requires a minimum of processing to be usable in most applications.
In the 1960s, a problem began to surface in people who worked regularly with or near asbestos, including thousands of soldiers. It was discovered that asbestos fibers were being inhaled or ingested by soldiers and sailors who were often cooped up in small spaces with poor ventilation. The problem was mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is also very deadly.
Veterans and Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma has later been found in many others who have not had such extensive exposure to asbestos. In some cases, exposure has been seemingly casual. However, it usually takes more than a decade after exposure for mesothelioma to develop. In some cases, exposure had occurred up to 40 years earlier. This means that veterans are still being diagnosed with mesothelioma today from exposure that occurred in the 1960s.
The military continued to use asbestos in great quantities until the late 1970s. Many veterans have developed mesothelioma from exposure that occurred in Vietnam. Asbestos also remained present in buildings and vehicles that had been built prior to the time the military stopped using it.
Many veterans and the families of veterans who had developed mesothelioma became incensed when it was discovered that the U.S. government may have been aware about the dangers of asbestos as early as the 1920s. Many soldiers have testified that they were instructed about the health hazards of asbestos even before it became widely used in the mid-1940s. Unfortunately, veterans cannot sue the government for incidents that occurred while they were on active duty. However, many veterans with mesothelioma have been able to recover damages from other responsible parties.
If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos while they were active members of the U.S. armed forces, fill out the simple form on this web page for further information about how we may be able to help.