It’s that time of year when school gets out, summer BBQs begin and, most importantly, we’re able to celebrate the people who make our lives today possible, the people who sacrificed their lives and paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
The dangers inherent in active duty are nothing to balk at — the people we honor on Memorial Day showed enormous bravery and courage, to serve our country and dedicate their lives to protecting all of us. However, no matter how dangerous the realities of joining the Armed Services may be, there is also an unnecessary harm that inflects many men and women in service more than it should: Exposure to asbestos.
On Memorial Day we celebrate all of the men and women who died during active duty. But what about all of the men and women who came home, only to suffer enormous emotional and physical injuries from their time on duty? Some injuries, like PTSD, may require more therapies and ongoing support to help service men and women upon their return home. But other injuries — like exposure to asbestos — unfortunately, there may be nothing we can do upon their return, besides wait… wait to see if the exposure turns into mesothelioma, something that, unfortunately, may happen much more frequently in veterans compared to ordinary citizens.
Did you know that while veterans only comprise around eight percent of the American population, they make up around 30 percent of mesothelioma deaths in America? In addition, more than 30 percent of veterans, the honorable men and women who survived active duty and deserved nothing but our utmost protection upon their return home, have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. These are worrisome numbers, and as the veterans who served in the Korean War, Vietnam War and other military operations before 1980 age, they may be diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma in increasing numbers.
Before we get into the specifics about what you need to know if you or someone you know served in the Armed Services before 1980 (when asbestos began to be removed from common buildings, weapons and machines used by the Armed Services) we’d like to make clear one very, very important fact: If you or someone you know developed mesothelioma because of your time in service, you may be able to file a lawsuit to help you and your family get the money you need to pay for your treatment; however, please understand, a mesothelioma lawsuit will never, ever sue the United States military.
We are just as grateful to the U.S. military as you are and we would never do anything but support the Armed Services; however, it’s important to know, all the same, that far too many men and women were exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers during their time in service. And while the fault does not lie on the U.S. military, it DOES lie on someone: The businesses that sold their asbestos-laden products to the Armed Services — most likely knowing full well that the products could cause cancer.
Every person who served in the Armed Services may have been exposed to asbestos — sometimes, even, daily. Here’s what you need to know for each branch of the military.
Members of the Navy may have had the most risk for exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma. That’s because asbestos was tooted as a highly-flame retardant insulation material for years, something that was especially important in the Navy due to the high risk of fire at sea. As such, asbestos was used in the construction of the Navy’s fleet of both vessels and vehicles from WWII and on — in fact, many of these vessels and vehicles are still used today.
Members of the U.S. army may have been exposed to asbestos in both buildings, vehicles and ammunition.
Members of the U.S. Air Force may have come into contact with asbestos in the barracks they used for housing, offices, recreational and eating. In addition, air force vehicle technicians, aircraft maintenance technicians, aircraft control and warning radar operators may have had a higher risk of exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos Exposure in the Marines
Members of the U.S. Marines may have been exposed to asbestos in their base facilities, barracks and mechanical shops — mechanical shops that often may have undergone insufficient and dangerous asbestos removal, a removal performed by untrained crews of enlisted men.
Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Coast Guard
In addition, members of the United States Coast Guard may have been exposed to asbestos in their boats and ships, bases and buildings or helicopters and airplanes.