Asbestos Exposure and U.S. Service Veterans

U.S. service members account for a huge chunk of the U.S. citizens who suffer from asbestos-exposure related illnesses. In fact, U.S. military veterans account for almost a third of all mesothelioma cases. Sadly, U.S. military veterans are at a way higher risk for asbestosis, mesothelioma and other asbestos exposure related illnesses than the general population because of the U.S. government’s past use of asbestos-containing materials. These materials were often utilized by the navy, army, marines and air force because of the asbestos mineral’s fire-proofing and heat resistance nature. Thus, veterans who served between the 1940s and the 1980s are at significant risk for asbestos-exposure related cancers and other benign and malignant illnesses. Luckily, the United States Veteran Administration (“VA”) offers special compensation for veterans who are suffering from asbestos-exposure related illnesses and diseases.

Air Force Asbestos Exposure

Created in 1947, the U.S. Air Force has a long history rife with asbestos use for the construction of a variety of air force bases, including the Tinker, Ellsworth, Buckley, Lowry, and Williams Air Force bases. Asbestos presence has been proven through an assortment of government studies including a significant investigation in 2002 at the Burn’s Radar Station, which was used for on-base living accommodations. This investigation discovered significant amounts of asbestos-containing fibers in wall insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, drywall and stucco used to construct the housing accommodations. Asbestos was also used in both the creation and maintenance of Navy air crafts. Asbestos-containing materials were specifically located in the heat shields, brakes, torque valves, gaskets, and cockpit heating systems.

Army Asbestos Exposure

The use of asbestos-containing materials at Army bases was so extreme that it topped the list of the contaminants found present at over 30 U.S. Army installations that were either realigned or closed by the military in the 1990s. Asbestos-containing materials were used in the construction and maintenance of buildings where Army members ate, worked and were housed. Investigations discovered asbestos in roofing, plumbing systems, caulking and flooring. Even the vehicles used by Army members had asbestos contained in the brakes, gaskets and clutch plates. Soldiers from Iraq to World War II could have been exposed to asbestos-containing materials during their service.

Navy Asbestos Exposure

The U.S. Navy is the military branch whose veterans faced the highest risk of exposure to asbestos-containing materials. The use of the material for its fire-resistance properties has resulted in mesothelioma disproportionately attacking Navy veterans more than any other branch of the military. Before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in, asbestos was used in hundreds of different of ways on U.S. Navy ships. Asbestos could be found in boiler rooms, weapons and ammunition storage facilities, and any other space that required heat resistance capabilities. Asbestos was used to cover motors, condensers, compressors and other ship parts. Furthermore, asbestos could be found both in the walls and on the floors of virtually all Navy ships. Essentially, almost all products involved in the creation, repair or destruction of Navy ships involved the use of asbestos-containing materials.

Marine Asbestos Exposure

The U.S. Marine Corps consists of some of the most skilled and highly trained military service members. However, the Marines utilized an assortment of Navy, Army and Air Force vehicles to be transported around the world. Essentially, Marines were exposed to asbestos both on land and on water because of the transitory nature of their service. The airplanes, ships, bases and living quarters utilized by the Marines in their training all contained asbestos products that lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis and other serious asbestos-related illnesses.

In the 1970s the military banned the use of asbestos in new constructions. However, transportation vehicles, housing locations and bases that contained asbestos were still utilized for decades. Concerned that you are a service veteran who came into contact with asbestos during your military career? Contact an asbestos exposure attorney today.


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