There are far too many stories in the news about people who have become victims of exposure to dangerous levels of asbestos. We read about the people who worked in shipyards, on the railroads and in other industries who learn they have mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis. Many of these people have long since retired from their jobs and are focused at enjoying retirement. The tragic reality is that asbestos-related cancers can be very aggressive and many people do not receive a diagnosis until it is too late for treatment to be effective.
Those in North Carolina and throughout the U.S. are likely aware of the reality that workers who were exposed to asbestos, especially decades ago when protective gear was not deemed necessary, are being diagnosed and dying from mesothelioma in significant numbers. One woman went to court recently after her husband contracted the serious illness and sought damages in charges involving product liability.
We have discussed the various ways in which people all across the country may be affected by lethal exposure to asbestos. The fiber can be found in our homes, our cars and at the jobs we go to nearly every day. However, the threat of exposure that continues today may be dwarfed by the levels of exposure to asbestos that members of the United States military were subjected to for decades.
For decades, men and women in the U.S. Navy have been put in situations where they have been heavily exposed to asbestos. The toxic substance was used extensively in many areas of naval ships as a fireproofing method. Through the 1980s, shipbuilders continued using asbestos in ships, despite learning the risks associated with it. Since then, however, changes have been made in the way in which the Navy deals with 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.
It may surprise many people to learn that almost one-third of all reported cases of mesothelioma involve veterans of the military. Primarily, those in the U.S. Navy who served aboard ships and in shipyards were most affected. This is because asbestos, the fiber that has been linked to causing mesothelioma, was heavily utilized in the shipping industry.
For decades, men and women signed up for the Navy without knowing how their service would affect their health years later. Across the country, veterans of the Navy are getting sick and dying from lung cancers and asbestosis that can be linked, often, to working in ships with asbestos-laden materials.
After spending 30 years in the Navy working as a boiler tender and fireman, one man developed mesothelioma. He filed a lawsuit for his substantial pain and suffering that resulted from the disease, and was recently awarded $32 million.