Mesothelioma & Veterans

Mesothelioma & Veterans

Those who served in the United States military from the 1930s until the late 1970s were more than familiar with asbestos, but may not have known about the health risks surrounding the toxic mineral. Throughout those decades, particularly around the time of World War II, U.S. Armed Forces made widespread use of asbestos around ships and within other areas of the military.

The veterans who encountered asbestos in shipyards and other places during their service were unaware that exposure to asbestos could cause pleural mesothelioma. This rare cancer has a severe latency period and veterans may only now be feeling symptoms of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos decades ago. According to statistics, veterans account for a sizeable percent of all cases of mesothelioma.

The U.S. Military and Asbestos Exposure

The U.S. military used asbestos because it was cheap, readily available and fire-resistant. It is estimated that more than 300 asbestos-containing products were used by the military, primarily the Navy, from the 1930s through the 1970s. Asbestos was most common in shipyards and was used on just about every naval ship built or repaired during that era. Its excellent insulating capabilities made it the ideal material for use in engine and boiler rooms and other places where temperatures were high and accidents could occur.

Asbestos was also used in products such as cement, clutches, valves, brakes, gaskets, electrical wires and other high-temp equipment. Within many ships, asbestos-containing materials could have been found in mess halls, sleeping quarters and navigation rooms, making it easy for a wide variety of Navy personnel to be exposed.

Once asbestos fibers are inhaled, the exposed individual becomes an immediate candidate for pleural mesothelioma. Research has shown that a one-time exposure to asbestos has the ability to cause an asbestos-related disease. In most cases, the inhaled fibers become lodged in the lining of the lungs and are unable to be expelled, causing enough inflammation and irritation to later result in the formation of pleural tumors.

Acquiring Veterans Affairs Benefits

Individuals who believe they have developed pleural mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure during their military service may apply for benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While the VA does indeed recognize pleural mesothelioma as a service-related disease, the individual applying for benefits must be able to demonstrate that exposure occurred during service and not before or after in order to qualify. offers free assistance to veterans filing a VA claim. Our Veterans Assistance Department has reliable experience in filing VA claims and we can help any veteran with pleural mesothelioma to acquire benefits from the VA. To speak with someone in our Veterans Assistance Department please call 1-800-615-2270 or simply fill out the form on this page to be contacted.

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