Air Force veterans may have been exposed to asbestos during service

Tragically, military veterans of past U.S. conflicts continue to be diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma. For many of these victims, their conditions can be directly linked to asbestos exposure during their time in military service. And while veterans of some branches of the armed services were inherently more at risk to come into contact with asbestos during their service, none were completely safe, including members of the U.S. Air Force.

Dangers of asbestos exposure

Prior to the 1980s, asbestos could be found almost everywhere. In particular, asbestos was an ideal material in a variety of situations given its ability to resist heat and insulate. For example, asbestos could be found in car parts and building materials such as wall insulation and flooring tiles.

Sadly, asbestos becomes extremely dangerous if agitated to the point where its fibers become airborne - and then subsequently breathed in by unsuspecting victims. Once inhaled, these same asbestos fibers can lodge themselves in the lining of a victim's lungs, which can ultimately lead to the development of mesothelioma.

Asbestos in the Air Force

For past members of the U.S. Air Force, asbestos was commonly used in several aspects of military life. For instance, asbestos was found in a variety of aircraft parts - including brakes, electrical insulation and engine shields.

Even more concerning is the fact that asbestos was also used in Air Force base housing. Sadly, this means that not only servicemen, but also their families, were exposed to asbestos while living on-base - especially if repairs of renovations were necessary in the buildings.

There are several examples of Air Force bases that engaged in the pervasive use of asbestos in years past, including Chanute Air Force Base, which was officially closed in 1993. According to a 2008 report issued by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) - the government agency charged with identifying and cleaning up hazardous waste sites - various concerns were expressed regarding asbestos exposure from deteriorating structures on Chanute Air Force Base. In fact, the report noted that "this is a common problem at any abandoned property including most base closure sites."

Seek assistance if victim of asbestos exposure

Unfortunately, victims of asbestos exposure may not even develop mesothelioma for decades after exposure. This means that members of the Air Force that served 20 years ago - on bases that may even now be closed - can still be at risk for developing mesothelioma.

If you or loved one now suffers from mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure in the military, it is important to contact an experienced asbestos litigation attorney. A skilled attorney can assist in investigating the source of your asbestos exposure and help in ensuring your rights are protected.