With over 300 different products containing asbestos used in the military between the 1930s and the 1970s, thousands of American veterans have discovered that they were exposed to asbestos materials while serving in the Armed Forces. Because asbestos is highly resistant to heat, it was commonly used as a fireproofing material in all branches of the military, especially the Navy. Asbestos was used as a type of insulation and was considered a vital material for military use until it was largely discontinued in the 1970s.
The Use of Asbestos
Materials containing asbestos were commonly used in engine rooms and boiler rooms as well as any other areas that required good insulation and fire resistance. Navy personnel, who resided in sleeping quarters, ate in mess halls and worked in navigation rooms were all at risk, although those who worked below the deck were at greater risk from working around asbestos in an enclosed space. The many different products that contained this dangerous substance included adhesives, gaskets, valves, cements and pipe coverings.
Individuals at Risk
According to the statistics available on mesothelioma, a large number of individuals who have developed this condition did so while serving in the military in prior years. Due to the military’s common practice of using this material during the years between 1940 and 1970, the veterans who did serve in the military during those years are at a higher risk for developing asbestos-related conditions and mesothelioma than civilians. The risk of developing this fatal disease is even higher for Navy personnel who worked in shipyards.
To receive compensation for diseases that are related to exposure to asbestos through the VA, veterans must have proof that they developed the disease from exposure to asbestos while serving in the military. Without this proof, the VA is unable to provide compensation. Veterans should also take note thata mesothelioma diagnosis does not guarantee that Veteran Affairs will accept a disability compensation claim. Mesothelioma is also difficult to diagnosis in its initial stages, as it can remain latent for many years with symptoms indicating other physical disorders.
Additionally, due to the Feres Doctrine, individuals cannot seek compensation from the United States military using legal action, which leaves no ways for veterans to collect government aid in the event the VA does not provide assistance. Veterans who are suffering from mesothelioma should seek compensation directly from companies who manufactured and sold asbestos materials. The best way to receive compensation for veterans who have been diagnosed with asbestos-related disease is to have a lawyer who is experienced in winning asbestos-related cases.
Mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed, due to its symptoms overlapping those of other disorders. This can cause the cancer to spread from its location of origin to different area of the body. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of asbestos cancer. Its symptoms include fever, coughing and night sweats, which may be misdiagnosed as pneumonia or influenza. Treating this type of cancer does vary according to its stage. If the cancer is not diagnosed early, treatment options are few. Generally, in late stages of this disease, treatment includes making the patient as comfortable as possible and improving life quality.