Military Service and Asbestos Exposure

Military Service and Asbestos Exposure: What You Should Know

Military Service and Asbestos Exposure


Asbestos exposure causes most cases of mesothelioma. Navy veteran and famous actor Steve McQueen was only 48 years old when he began showing symptoms of an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. He was only 50 years old when the cancer took his life less than two years later. His wife confirmed McQueen was first exposed to the cause of his disease in the 1940s while working at a naval shipyard outside Washington, D.C. His task was to remove insulation from the hold of a ship. Little did he or his superiors know, at the time, that that insulation contained asbestos – something now commonly known to cause cancer. McQueen was directly exposed to it.


Asbestos is a group of six naturally-occurring minerals made up of heat-resistant fibers. It is a useful construction tool which can provide insulation or fortify materials made of paper, cement, plastic or others. However, asbestos breaks down into dust which, if inhaled, cannot be processed by the human body. Those toxic fibers stay in the body an eventually cause cancers such as mesothelioma or asbestosis.


Asbestos Exposure And Veterans


Countless other veterans have been exposed to asbestos since the US military used it widely from the 1930s to the 1990s. It was used in shipbuilding and construction of all types of buildings.


Exposure to asbestos fibers is the sole cause of mesothelioma. Because the latency period for mesothelioma is quite long – sometimes as long as 70 years – most veterans do not know they are sick until it’s too late. Therefore, people who worked on projects involving asbestos in the 1950s, when asbestos use was widespread, might just be receiving a cancer diagnosis today. Advanced mesothelioma is almost impossible to treat. Because of the tumor’s location, surgery is difficult and aggressive radiation therapy is usually not an option.


Asbestos exposure could cause many other serious illnesses besides cancer, some of which are treatable. However, this treatment is expensive. A VA disability lawyer obtains the resources these victims need to fight their asbestos exposure-related illnesses and live longer.


More About Asbestos Exposure


Construction workers, demolition/renovation workers, and service members stationed near construction or renovation/demolition projects are all at risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos exposure illnesses.


Beginning around 1900, scientists around the world began sounding the alarm about the link between asbestos, a natural fiber which was known as a cheap and effective fireproofing material, and various health problems. Asbestos is still legal today, but most builders stopped using it around 1980.


Asbestos Exposure And Construction Work


If you worked on a construction project before 1980, there is a good chance that project included asbestos. There is also a good chance the military did not take the proper precautions.


Demolition and renovation workers are at risk because many supervisors do not fully understand the risks involved. The toxins in asbestos are a lot worse than the toxins in cigarette smoke. Most people have to smoke lots of cigarettes before they face serious health risks. A single microscopic asbestos fiber poses the same risk.


This same risk exists for ambient exposure victims. Ambient exposure means inhaling the toxic material simply by being in close proximity to asbestos – not working directly with it. And, a person does not have to inhale asbestos for it to affect them. The fibers are so small that they can float through very small openings in the body, like hair follicles. They could even absorb directly through the skin.


Normally, these exposure claims are difficult to prove in court. However, because veterans with exposure to asbestos enjoy a presumption of service connection to illnesses like mesothelioma, a VA disability attorney must only show contact with asbestos during service. That is a relatively low standard.


Benefits Available


VA disability benefits usually include monthly cash and free medical care at a VA facility. Both these financial benefits could make a big difference for your family.


Usually, asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma and asbestosis, a chronic lung disease, are completely disabling. Therefore, the VA awards the maximum cash allowance under the law to veterans who are victims of mesothelioma and asbestosis. Unfortunately, these conditions normally do not improve, which means the VA will award the Veteran, and any survivors these benefits for life.


It is hard to believe, but the medical care benefit might be worth more than the monthly cash benefit, though the two are not mutually exclusive. Advanced cancer and other treatments often cost more than $10,000 a month. In many cases, the VA also pays ancillary medical bills, like transportation and chemotherapy drugs.


Work with Compassionate Attorneys


An attorney is a valuable partner in all phases of a disability claim. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer, contact the Cameron Firm, P.C. at 800-861-7262 or fill out the contact box on our website. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.


This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.