Many of our nation's men and women in uniform are at risk of mesothelioma.

Military veterans and civilian military workers, especially those who worked at Navy shipyards, are at a higher risk of mesothelioma due to on-the-job exposure to asbestos. Men and women who served between 1940 and 1970 are especially vulnerable.

Navy Ships

Asbestos was often used in the construction of US Navy ships due to its heat and chemical resistance. The tight spaces and the lack of proper ventilation in boiler rooms, engine rooms and other below-deck compartments, where asbestos was used as insulation, left many workers breathing asbestos fibers and put their families at risk of secondary exposure. Jobs at higher risk include machinist mates, machinery repairmen, boiler room workers.

At risk: Navy, Marine Corps, Civilian Workers


Workers who constructed Navy ships are at risk. In addition, since the end of the Cold War, many Navy ships have been dismantled. Workers on those ships, known as “shipbreakers,” cut ships down to scrap without protective gear, breathing in asbestos as well as many other toxic materials. The contractors in charge of these jobsites often covered up the risk to their employees and the environment.

At risk: Navy, Civilian Workers

Military Housing

Asbestos insulation was commonly used in military housing. In fact, many Army bases still contain potentially harmful asbestos materials today despite the institution of asbestos usage regulations in the 1980s.

At risk: Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Civilian Workers


Airplane engines, brakes and other equipment contained asbestos insulation, placing workers on those planes at especial risk. Pilots and passengers may have been exposed to asbestos as well.

At risk: Air Force, Civilian Workers

Medical Support for Veterans with Mesothelioma Cancer

If you’re a veteran with mesothelioma, you aren’t limited to treatment at a VA-affiliated medical center. Often, an oncologist who also treats civilian cancer cases at a larger hospital may be your best option. The Veterans Benefits Network can assist veterans who are looking for a physician to treat their cancer.

Legal Support for Veterans with Mesothelioma Cancer

If you developed mesothelioma cancer as a result of exposure sustained during their military service, you do have legal rights. You may find it difficult to get the same type of benefits as workers who have been contaminated through civilian work areas because you can’t hold the U.S. government liable for your asbestos exposure. However, some veterans and their families choose to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the asbestos-containing product to which they were exposed. Many lawyers with experience in asbestos lawsuits specialize in assisting veterans seeking fair compensation for medical bills and emotional stress.

The attorneys at Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney and Meisenkothen specialize in mesothelioma litigation. If you’re a veteran who contracted the disease, we can help.
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    Sources & About the Writer [+]
    • 1 The Pulitzer Prizes. Scrapping ships, sacrificing men.
    • About The Writer Photo of Dan Heil Dan Heil

      Dan is a contributing writer for The Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center. He hopes to help educate on everything related to a mesothelioma diagnosis and answer any questions patients or family members may have.