Veterans And Mesothelioma Exposure

Veterans And Mesothelioma Exposure

Mesothelioma is one of the leading causes of cancer among veterans in the United States. The disease is most prevalent in veterans of the era of the 40s through to the 60s when the use of asbestos was wide spread in the construction of military equipment. Mesothelioma is a cancer that forms as a direct result of continuous exposure to asbestos particles. Upon inhalation, the asbestos particles find their way into the deep annals of the lungs where they become logged amongst the tissue and cells. Here they remain ant interact with antibodies released by the body as a direct result of the irritation caused by the asbestos particles and transform the surrounding cells into cancerous cells. This process continues until the entire lining of the lung becomes damaged. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is not easily diagnosed resulting in many veterans being unaware of their condition until the disease becomes irreversible.

Between the 1930 through to the 1970s, the use of asbestos was prevalent in many military constructions. As a result, military veterans from all sections of the armed forces who served in World War 2, Korean War and Vietnam now exhibit after effects of asbestos exposure. The main exposure came from equipment such ships, submarines and airplane in which asbestos was used for insulation purposes.


US Naval veterans have one of the highest rates of mesothelioma among US veterans. Most of these individuals served in shipyards where they were involved in the construction of ships and submarines for use in the fleet. These vessels were laced with asbestos from end to end due its excellent heat resistance qualities. The asbestos was placed in walls, floors, valve gaskets and around boilers. However, due the lack of knowledge available at the time about the dangers of asbestos exposure, these individuals worked fearlessly to get their orders out.


Although members of the army did not use utilize ships or submarines during their operations, this did not save them from asbestos exposure. Asbestos was a cheap material that could be used in many applications. As a result, asbestos was used to construct sleeping barracks in many locations overseas. It provided good insulation in cold countries, however as the wars progressed, many of these building aged or were damaged by enemy fire causing the asbestos particles to be released into the environment. These side effects still exist for those individuals who still live in the war-ravished areas who still use some of these buildings for living purposes.


It is a tradition for marines to work closely with the navy as most of their deployment depends on the assistance of the navy. As a result, these marines become exposed to the same contaminated conditions on asbestos-laced vessels. In addition, many of the buildings used the marines while on land were also built from asbestos products.

Air Force

Asbestos is a relatively light material that provides good insulation that was perfect at the time for use in airplane construction. As a result of being enclosed in these small cockpits for extended periods during wars and training, world war 2, Korean and Vietnam veteran pilots have gained the unfortunate post of being second only to navy veterans with the highest rate of mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure

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