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Former Navy man ill from asbestos

A man who served in the Navy for four years, from 1965 through 1969, and later worked 38 years in a powerhouse at a university, says he is now seriously ill as a result of prolonged exposure to asbestos over the years. He has filed a federal lawsuit against 30 different companies he accuses of responsibility for that exposure. Many people have become ill from asbestos exposure in North Carolina and throughout the nation and have sought some measure of help from those responsible through lawsuits and workers' compensation claims.

In this case, the defendant companies mined, manufactured, imported, processed or retailed asbestos products which the plaintiff says he encountered in his workplaces. While in the Navy, he was stationed on three different ships, helping them to keep running by maintaining and repairing their boilers. At the university job, he also worked on maintenance for school furnaces and boilers.

The defendants, he contended, knew all about the toxic impact which asbestos could have on the human body, but failed to adequately warn people like himself or encourage them to wear proper protective gear. None of them took measures to propose proper safety precautions, or to initiate recalls of products which they were aware were slowly killing people, causing cancers and respiratory ailments.

Members of the military, like this plaintiff, are not able to sue the government for the results of their exposure to asbestos. In some instances, however, they may be able to qualify for Veterans Administration disability benefits.

As long ago as 1939, the U.S. Navy Surgeon General issued warnings to the public about the dangers of exposure to asbestos. Aware of this, the Department of Defense tragically not only condoned the continuing use of asbestos in Navy shipbuilding, but actively ordered and mandated it for 40 years after the danger was known, making innocent sailors later pay the price.

Source: Daily Item, "Former Bucknell worker files asbestos lawsuit," Sept. 19, 2012

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