Asbestos in the Military: Why Veterans Are Developing Mesothelioma

Veterans and Mesothelioma Since the early 1940s, millions of Americans have been exposed to asbestos fibers in their workplaces and homes.1 Asbestos fibers were praised for their “resistance to heat, fire, and chemicals.”1 They also do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, “asbestos has been used widely in many industries.”1

Prior to several asbestos bans in the 1970s, American workers were susceptible to inhaling or swallowing large amounts of these carcinogenic mineral fibers every day.2 Asbestos has been primarily used in the construction and automotive industries.1 Moreover, “the shipbuilding industry has used asbestos to insulate boilers, steam pipes, and hot water pipes.”1

Because was asbestos so widely used, military and navy veterans were often exposed to its fibers during their service as well.

Asbestos Can Make Veterans Sick Decades after Exposure

Asbestos has been classified by a known human carcinogen, a substance that causes cancer.1 If its fibers become airborne, someone can inhale or swallow them. According to a new study, these asbestos fibers then “remain stuck in the mesothelium where they cause persistent tissue injury, which can lead to cancer.”3 This process is very slow, happening between 20 and 50 years after the first instance of exposure.

Asbestos can cause the following cancers in veterans:

Although of these cancers are serious, mesothelioma is a particularly deadly type of cancer that starts in the mesothelium, a protective membrane that lines most of the body’s internal organs.4 Asbestos exposure is known as the main cause behind developing mesothelioma. Therefore, veterans who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis should identify how they were exposed to asbestos in the military.

How Veterans Were Exposed to Asbestos

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, if a veteran served in any of the following occupations, they may have been exposed to asbestos5:

  • Mining
  • Milling
  • Shipyard work
  • Insulation work
  • Demolition of old buildings
  • Carpentry and construction
  • Manufacturing and/or installation of products such as:
    • Flooring
    • Roofing
    • Cement sheet
    • Pipe products
  • Servicing of friction products such as clutch facings and brake linings5

Also, if a veteran served in Iraq, they may “have been exposed to asbestos when older buildings were damaged and the contaminant was released into the air.”5

Compensation Options for Veterans Diagnosed with Mesothelioma

Following an asbestos-related disease, veterans “may receive service-connected compensation benefits.”5 However, this method may not provide enough compensation for the mesothelioma victims. Therefore, we recommend you seek the counsel of a mesothelioma attorney for more help.

Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? We’re Here to Help

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our attorneys at Shannon Law Group, P.C., can help you get started on the right path to obtaining compensation. You can fill out our online contact form.

We’re also available at (312) 578-9501 or toll-free at (886) 881-9980. One of our team members will be in touch with you soon. A free, no-obligation consultation is available as well.



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