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U.S. military members exposed to high levels of asbestos

We often discuss some of the people who are disproportionately exposed to asbestos on this blog. We have looked at some of the unique challenges that construction workers, plumbers and railroad workers face because of their increased risk of coming into contact with asbestos. But did you know that about 30 percent of all the people diagnosed with mesothelioma are veterans of the military?

This group of people, especially those who served in the U.S. Navy, were exposed to toxic levels of asbestos frequently during their service because of the unsafe environments in which they worked, slept and lived. Many veterans continue to struggle with health problems related to asbestos exposure and sadly, many have died as a result of an asbestos-related disease.

Military members were and continue to be exposed to a number of different asbestos products during their service. Those who served many years ago may have come into close contact with asbestos during work in a shipyard or demolition projects. Many Navy veterans slept in ships lined with asbestos or next to asbestos-covered pipes. Current or recent members of the military may have been exposed to asbestos during construction projects or when they have been in the vicinity of old, damaged buildings. 

But no matter when a person served in the military, asbestos exposure presents a serious threat to his or her health. Too many veterans have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis and pleural plaques, all of which can be fatal. 

However, there are resources available to military veterans who have been exposed to asbestos and their families. Depending on a number of factors, people may be eligible to receive disability benefits, compensation from negligence claims and health care benefits that can make it easier to cope with the effects of a devastating illness caused by asbestos. Those who have been exposed may want to consider speaking with an attorney in order to identify any and all benefits that may be available to veterans who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.

Source: United States Department of Veterans Affairs, "Asbestos," accessed Dec. 6, 2013

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