Mesothelioma & Army Veterans

® Quick Summary

The U.S. Army used asbestos widely until recognizing its dangers in the late 1970s. Today, Army veterans are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Sokolove Law helps veterans and their families receive compensation and justice through asbestos trust funds, lawsuits, and VA benefits.

Help for Army Veterans With Mesothelioma

Asbestos use in the United States Army was widespread from the 1930s until the late 1970s, when the dangers of the mineral finally came to light — dangers that asbestos-containing product manufacturers kept hidden for decades.

This decision to put profit before people’s lives means that today, veterans make up 1 in 3 of all malignant mesothelioma patients in the country. They also suffer a higher risk of other asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis and lung cancer.

Former Army service members have several options for receiving health care, financial support, and justice and can access these resources by working with Sokolove Law.

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Legal Compensation for Mesothelioma Veterans

Army veterans may be eligible to file for mesothelioma compensation from the companies and manufacturers responsible for their asbestos exposure.

Army veterans may receive financial compensation from:

  • Asbestos trust funds: Bankrupt asbestos companies established special court-ordered trust funds to compensate current and future asbestos exposure victims and their family members.
  • Mesothelioma lawsuits: Veterans can sue asbestos companies that are still in business by filing a personal injury or wrongful death mesothelioma claim.

Army veterans who take legal action against these companies can still receive VA benefits, as pursuing legal compensation will not change any decision made by the VA.

In the wake of a mesothelioma diagnosis, it is crucial for veterans to maximize their resources. For over 40 years, Sokolove Law has helped Army veterans get the compensation they deserve from the companies that harmed them.

Contact Sokolove Law today for a free case review to see if you may be entitled to compensation.

VA Benefits for Mesothelioma

Army veterans diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma may also be entitled to benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

VA benefits for Army veterans with mesothelioma include:

  • VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC)
  • Disability compensation
  • Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
  • VA health care

To qualify for mesothelioma-specific VA benefits, veterans will need to file a claim for disability benefits and provide documentation proving that their cancer developed due to asbestos exposure during their military service.

“These types of claims are unique because records on the use of asbestos in the military still exist, and they are widely used in investigating mesothelioma cases.”

Filing a successful VA benefits claim can be a complex process, especially if a veteran’s Army asbestos exposure occurred long ago. Sokolove Law can help ensure claims are filed properly, quickly, and that veterans and their loved ones receive the financial support they need.

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How Were Army Veterans Exposed to Asbestos?

Asbestos was widely used throughout this military branch to fireproof and insulate everything from Army vehicles to buildings to protective clothing. This put millions of individuals at risk of exposure to toxic asbestos fibers.

Risk of Army asbestos exposure often came from:

  • Equipment: Products, tools, and vehicles such as tanks often contained asbestos.
  • Locations: Places where Army veterans were likely to have encountered airborne asbestos include military bases and barracks.
  • Occupations: Many roles and responsibilities in the Army, such as mechanics and construction, came with an elevated risk of asbestos exposure.

Once the dangers of asbestos were made public in the late 1970s, the Army and other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces restricted its use and removed as much asbestos as possible from buildings, vehicles, and equipment.

However, thousands were already exposed.

What David Shulkin Promises to Do as Secretary of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs

Army veterans exposed decades ago are now at risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, as it takes 20-50 years for these diseases to develop.

High-Risk Asbestos Exposure Army Jobs

While heavy use of asbestos on Army bases and other areas meant nearly anyone could be exposed, certain jobs put some Army service members at an especially high risk of asbestos exposure.

Artillery Personnel

Veterans responsible for handling explosives and operating artillery often wore suits and gloves lined with asbestos for protection from hot shells and gun barrels.

Construction & Demolition Workers

Anyone involved in the construction or demotion of military bases was likely exposed to dust from buildings that contained asbestos.

Firefighters

When a building made with asbestos products caught fire, the fibers could enter the air. Army firefighters could accidentally inhale the fibers while working to put out the fire.

Insulators

Spray-on asbestos insulation and asbestos-lined materials were used by the military to fire-proof vehicles, ships, planes, and structures.

Mechanics

Asbestos was used in high-friction items like brake pads and gaskets. Army engineers and mechanics responsible for vehicle and machine maintenance often worked with these asbestos products.

Pipefitters

Because of its durability and heat-resistance, many piping materials were made with asbestos. Installing, repairing, and removing these materials often released toxic asbestos fibers into the air.

Plumbers

Army plumbers had to repair or replace pipe systems that contained asbestos. Without care, they could cause asbestos fibers to be released.

Tankers

As the asbestos insulation used for fireproofing tanks broke down, asbestos fibers entered the small, poorly circulated interior of the vehicle, exposing those inside.

Asbestos in Army Barracks & Buildings

Military structures built from 1930-1980 likely contained asbestos, which was mixed into cement, drywall compounds, caulk, and other materials.

Asbestos-containing materials were often used to build:

  • Barracks
  • Boiler rooms
  • Mess halls
  • Other Army buildings

Workers and other individuals near these buildings were exposed to airborne asbestos fibers as building materials were cut and sanded, or during controlled demolition.

Today, asbestos still poses a threat to some active-duty Army personnel. Older buildings in war zones commonly contain asbestos fibers. If these fibers are disturbed during combat, soldiers may breathe them in and develop serious diseases later on.

Asbestos in Equipment and Products Used by the Army

Army veterans who worked on vehicles like jeeps and tanks, heavy machinery, or fabricated parts encountered asbestos on a regular basis, both in the equipment, itself, and in the protective gear they used while working.

Common asbestos materials include:

  • Braking systems/pads
  • Boilers
  • Clutch plates
  • Construction materials
  • Electrical wiring
  • Engines
  • Floor and ceiling tiles
  • Gaskets
  • Heating systems
  • Insulation
  • Paint
  • Piping
  • Roofing materials
  • Shingles
  • Wallboard

Sokolove Law maintains a proprietary database with detailed information about these products and countless others. Even if you are unsure of how you may have been exposed to asbestos in the Army, our mesothelioma attorneys can help determine the source of your exposure.

Sokolove Law Helps Veterans with Mesothelioma

The manufacturers of asbestos-containing products hid the truth from the government and the public for profit, and as a result, millions of U.S. Army veterans were exposed to deadly asbestos while serving their country.

Our mesothelioma law firm has over 40 years of experience handling asbestos trust fund claims and lawsuits that go after these companies — not the Army or the government. We have also helped thousands of veterans receive financial and health care support by filing VA claims.

To start a VA benefits claim or a mesothelioma legal claim, call (800) 647-3434 or contact us today. Our case managers are standing by to answer your questions.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: September 10, 2020

View 8 Sources
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  2. Till, J. E., Beck, H. L., Boice, J. D., Mohler, H. J., Mumma, M. T., Aanenson, J. W., & Grogan, H. A. (2018). Asbestos exposure and mesothelioma mortality among atomic veterans. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 1-5. doi:10.1080/09553002.2018.1551641

  3. Pawełczyk, A., & Božek, F. (2015). Health risk associated with airborne asbestos. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 187(7), 1-11. doi:10.1007/s10661-015-4614-3

  4. Military.com (n.d.) Special Monthly Compensation. Retrieved July 20, 2020, from https://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/special-monthly-compensation-smc-explained.html

  5. Department of Veterans Affairs, War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, “Asbestos Fact Sheet”, Retrieved from https://www.warrelatedillness.va.gov/WARRELATEDILLNESS/education/factsheets/asbestos-exposure.pdf Accessed on July 20, 2020

  6. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “Asbestos Fact Sheet” Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tfacts61.pdf Accessed on July 20, 2020

  7. Asbestos. (2019, April 16). Epa.gov. Retrieved July 20, 2020, from https://www.epa.gov/asbestos

  8. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Compensation – Asbestos”, Retrieved from https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-postservice-exposures-asbestos.asp Accessed on July 20, 2020