Allen Dutton, the Veteran Liaison of the Mesothelioma Cancer Center, recently sent me a piece for posting. He, and I, hope it will raise some awareness of the severe health problems faced by our veterans due to asbestos exposure. I am pleased and proud to give Allen the rest of this space.
Throughout the 20th century, the use of asbestos in military applications ranged from sectors of the Navy and Army. Its qualities as flame resistant and durability made it one of the most highly sought out building materials in the world. The mineral appeared on the majority of vessels used by the Navy and in shipyards. Asbestos exposure has affected various industries including the military, real estate, power generation and shipyards.
Asbestos was reportedly used in over 300 products for the United States military from the 1930’s until the 1970’s. Asbestos-containing products lead to hundreds of thousands of military veterans later developing asbestos-related illness due to long term exposure. Thousands of tons of asbestos were used as piping and boiler insulation aboard navigation rooms, sleeping quarters and mess halls in ships.
Asbestos exposure can lead to many fatal ailments such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.
This illness bears a strong latency period so individuals will not become sick until the disease has reached its later stages. Mesothelioma treatment has varied effects on victims. More often than not, it is fatal. Astonishingly, more than 30 percent of Americans diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed during military service. The amount of asbestos-related incidents lead to mesothelioma lawyer firms advocating victims’ rights. The asbestos scandal has been one of the many cover-ups executed in the 20th century. This had a heavy impact on military personnel, especially those in Navy vessels.
Although there is a century of credible scientific and medical evidence that demonstrates the carcinogenic affects of asbestos exposure, the federal government’s stance continues to be impartial. Although there are several overwhelming statistics that would justify a federal ban or harsher regulations on the substance, these efforts have been met with decisive struggles. Recently, the EPA created a Scientific Advisory Board asbestos panel is submitting erroneous studies that claims asbestos is not dangerous and does not cause cancer.
United States combat troops have been stationed in Iraq and face many extreme dangers on a daily basis. Aside from performing military operations, there is the potential threat of asbestos exposure. Over $194,000 worth of asbestos was imported into Iraq in 2003, documents reveal.
This presents a significant hazard for all soldiers stationed in the country because intense winds and desert sands can carry asbestos dust for long distances.
Military veterans and civilians who have developed an asbestos-related disease find themselves in a tough situation when attempting to receive assistance and benefits for their wrongful illness. Currently, mesothelioma is not readily recognized as a service-related medical ailment. However, veterans can apply for Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits for asbestos-related illness and must provide proof that their exposure occurred at the time of their military service.