Free Mesothelioma Information Packet

How Mesothelioma Affects Veterans

Veteran Mesothelioma

Asbestos exposure is the leading cause of the rare cancer known as mesothelioma (the most common form of this cancer is pleural mesothelioma). This cancer affects the protective lining around the lungs called the 'mesothelium.' Asbestos related lung diseases and cancer are not easily diagnosed and unfortunately, are not evident in the body until many years after exposure. There are many individuals who have been exposed to this deadly fiber in their homes and work locations. Typical environments where asbestos was used were shipyards, construction sites, and places where the fiber was used for insulation purposes. What most people fail to recognize, however, is that many US veterans who served in the military were also exposed to the toxic hazards of asbestos in their daily routines.

Those who may have been directly or indirectly in contact with asbestos fibers include Navy shipyard workers, other military branches and even civilian workers employed on or off shore in different commands. Research shows that specific jobs exposed workers to asbestos. These include machinists mates, machinery repairmen, and those who worked in boiler rooms. There is a higher rate among those workers on different Navy Ships for contracting the deadly disease. This was due to asbestos being used more frequently in shipyards than any other military location in the country. Since mesothelioma and other lung related diseases are triggered in later stages of life, veterans who were involved in the military between 1940 and 1970 are those that are at an increased risk.

Unfortunately, there were a number of companies during the 1940s through the 1970s that created products for military use that were imbedded with asbestos fibers. Individuals exposed to these fibers then contaminated their home environments because the fibers were transported in their hair, on their clothing and gear. These companies however, did not know at the time the complications that could arise because of the asbestos, and therefore, could not warn those who were being exposed. By the 1950s, however, there was a generous amount of information being published about the hazards of asbestos exposure, leaving employers (military and non-military) no excuse for making their employees aware of the danger. Moreover, the industries that did not tell their workers about the danger knew how much money they would gain by using and distributing products that contained asbestos. They were confident they would not be held accountable for the adverse reactions years later because of the time it takes to develop the lung related illnesses.

Asbestos related diseases will increase drastically within the next twenty years. Fortunately, there is still research being conducted to determine more information about mesothelioma treatment, it's causes, and it's symptoms, and where exactly people have been exposed. There is not, however, enough being done to determine how veterans will be compensated for the damages done to their health and quality of life.

Last modified: December 24, 2010.