Frequently Asked Questions About the Military and Mesothelioma’s Impact

Why do America’s veterans make up such a large percentage of our mesothelioma and asbestos disease victims?

The United States military is made up of several elite branches: The Army, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Air Force and the Marines. Each one has been invaluable in both combat and peacetime operations throughout the country’s history, and that means that each one’s personnel has had dangerous exposure to asbestos from the years before World War I through the operations in the Iraq theater. Asbestos is a mineral that was used extensively in industrial and construction settings because of its strength and its resistance to fire and heat, and as a result the military was one of the country’s largest purchasers and users of asbestos right up until the time that its danger was discovered in the mid 1970s. Asbestos was used in the concrete and insulation of buildings in which military members lived, worked, and ate, in the vehicles, planes and battleships that they traveled and fought in, and more.

At the time that the military was using all of this asbestos, its dangers had not been confirmed. Though there had long been concerns about its safety, and many asbestos manufacturers and companies were aware that it posed a hazard, the military itself was unaware that the material was putting its service men and women at such tremendous risk. It was only when the EPA revealed the results of its studies in 1973 that the public was made aware of its dangers, and at that time the government changed its asbestos use policy.

For all of asbestos’s benefits, it is a uniquely dangerous material. It breaks down into particles and fibers that are easily ingested and inhaled, and once that happens it becomes embedded in the body’s cells, causing cell death and eventually mutating into the cancerous tumors of malignant mesothelioma, as well as causing other asbestos related diseases including asbestosis. The exposure that occurred through several decades of our military’s history has caused sickness and death in so many of our nation’s veterans.

If you or someone you love served in the American military and has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to compensation from the asbestos companies. No matter what your mesothelioma stage, this compensation can come from filing a mesothelioma lawsuit or from filing a claim with the $30 billion asbestos trust funds. For more information on your rights and the reimbursement you may be able to receive, contact us today. We will send you a free Financial Compensation Packet, or put you in touch with one of our compassionate and experienced mesothelioma attorneys.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare and always fatal form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. It specifically impacts the mesothelium, an organ that is found in several locations throughout the body. The mesothelium provides a thin, lining around the lungs, the abdominal cavity, the cavity that holds the heart, and the testicles. It allows organs to expand and contract and to move next to other organs, and has different names based upon where it is located in the body. No matter whether the pleura (lungs), the peritoneum (the abdomen), the pericardium (the heart), or the testicles, it is vulnerable to the effects of asbestos fibers that have been inhaled or ingested.

When asbestos fibers become embedded in any of these areas, it causes cell death that is followed by the mutation of surrounding cells into malignant tumors. Mesothelioma has an extremely long latency period and can take decades for symptoms to develop.  By the time the tumors become large enough to have an impact, it is often too late for physicians to provide effective treatment.

How many people are affected by mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is one of the rarest forms of cancer. It is diagnosed in only about 3,500 Americans per year, but veterans of the American military represent approximately one third of those diagnosed. This is because asbestos was used extensively by the military from the years prior to World War I through the 1970s, and personnel continued to be exposed in years afterwards to asbestos that was previously in place as well as in the war theater in Iraq.  Both military personnel and civilian contractors were exposed during this time, and Navy personnel have a higher rate of diagnosis of mesothelioma then is true of other military branches because it was used most extensively in the fabrication of the Navy’s ships.

Mesothelioma also impacts people who were never exposed to military environments but who were exposed to asbestos in their work environments or through asbestos that was carried home on the clothing, hair or skin of loved ones who worked with asbestos containing materials. Men are more frequently diagnosed with the disease then women, but this is largely a function of the difference between men having worked in asbestos-contaminated materials and women, who rarely had those types of jobs during the years that asbestos was in use. These occupations included mining asbestos, insulation, shipbuilding and construction.

What kind of help is available for veterans who were exposed to asbestos and who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases?

Though the veterans who have been victims of asbestos exposure are not able to file lawsuits against the U.S. government for the damages that they have suffered, that does not mean that the United States does not provide them with support. Veterans who have been exposed to asbestos during their service are entitled to disability compensation. They are also able to go to VA hospitals for treatment for their asbestos-related conditions. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has gone to great lengths to provide for veterans who have been impacted by asbestos, including conducting extensive studies of the impact of the toxic material on those who served, creating registries from which researchers are able to extract valuable information, and providing veterans with access to screening programs that look for and detect the presence of asbestos-related diseases as early as possible in order to maximize the possibility of providing effective treatment to those who have been affected.

Legal Help

People who served in the military and who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma are not able to file lawsuits against the government, but they may be eligible to receive VA disability benefits and medical care. Additionally, you may be able to hold the companies that provided the asbestos-contaminated materials responsible for the harm that they have suffered. For information about the steps needed to get compensation from the $30 billion asbestos trust funds, or to file a mesothelioma lawsuit against the asbestos companies that negligently exposed them to asbestos, you need the assistance of a law firm that specializes in asbestos lawsuits. If you or someone you love has an asbestos-related condition like mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos lung cancer, contact our office today at 1-800-706-5606. We will put you in touch with one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys or send you a free Financial Compensation Packet that will provide you with helpful information about the compensation that you may be eligible to receive.