Veterans are diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases far more often than any other group of people. In fact, veterans represent 33% of mesothelioma cases. As alarming as that number is, it is equally frustrating to hear that veterans could have been exposed to asbestos during their time of service without knowing the dangers.
Raising Awareness about Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos-Related Diseases
One of the reasons Sokolove Law has sponsored the VFW National Convention for the past 5 years is to educate veterans. You may have been exposed to asbestos while serving on a ship in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Coast Guard, or while working in other military jobs that may have put veterans at high risk of exposure.
High-Risk Military Occupations
A machinist mate is more likely to be aware of having worked with asbestos, as he would have spent time cutting all sorts of asbestos-filled products as a routine part of the job. However, he may or may not have known the health risks of this direct exposure. Other mates working nearby, doing a completely different type of job that didn’t involve working directly with asbestos products, would not necessarily have known that they also were being exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers. Asbestos fibers are tiny (smaller than a grain of sand), can go airborne quickly, and can spread throughout a work area without anyone being aware of it.
Additional military jobs known to have put workers at higher risk of exposure to
- Shipyard work
- Insulation work
- Demolition of old buildings
- Manufacturing and insulation of products such as flooring and roofing
Asbestos-Related Diseases Can Lay Dormant for Decades
As shocking as it seems, it can take upward of 50 years after someone has been exposed to asbestos for the effects to become evident. By the time symptoms appear, mesothelioma, an aggressive disease that results from asbestos exposure, is usually at an advanced stage, and the treatment options are limited. We encourage any veterans who participated in any high-risk military occupations to alert their doctor to concerns about potential asbestos exposure—no matter how long ago that exposure may have occurred.
If you or someone you care about is concerned about potential asbestos exposure, contact your VA physician or a private physician to get a complete physical evaluation. If you do have an asbestos-related disease, you will want to look after your health first, and then you may want to seek justice for yourself and your family.