Navy veterans and the risk of asbestos exposure

Veterans of the U.S. Navy put their lives on the line for this country during their service. Sadly, many of them are now suffering from serious health complications that are putting their lives in danger once again. One such condition that many veterans are at a particularly high risk of developing is an asbestos-related illness.

Service members in the U.S. Navy were disproportionately exposed to asbestos between the 1930s and the 1990s due to the extensive use of the carcinogenic fiber in shipbuilding materials during that time. Whether a veteran was involved in the construction of ships or lived and worked on the ships, there is a very real possibility that he or she will face a diagnosis of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other devastating illnesses.

According to the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, asbestos was used heavily in materials specifically made for military ships, from pipe coverings, gaskets and valves to brakes, adhesives and floor coverings. This means that people faced exposure risks from the time a ship was built to the time it is decommissioned. Thousands of veterans’ lives have been and will continue to be affected by asbestos.

Service members should be aware of how, when and where they may have been exposed to asbestos. If the exposure occurred at a young age, or if it was frequently and for long periods of time, there is a higher risk of getting sick. If a person has a history of lung problems and/or smokes, the risk is also greater.

Knowing about the serious risks associated with asbestos exposure may certainly be frightening for service members and their families. However, having this information can be crucial in getting a timely and accurate diagnosis. If asbestos exposure has resulted in mesothelioma or other cancers in Navy veterans, it is important for victims to know that they also have rights to pursue financial support and compensation to cover some or all medical expenses and damages associated with the illness.