Veterans and Asbestos
Military veterans are at the highest risk for mesothelioma cancer because asbestos was used so frequently in so many military applications. Veterans who served from the 1930s through the 1980s were most likely exposed to asbestos.
Veterans who are seeking support through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must prove their asbestos-related injury was a direct result of military service. It can be very difficult for veterans to get support, funding, and treatment assistance for their disease, but that is where we can help.
We have veterans on staff that have helped injured veterans and their families get much-needed VA disability compensation. Our patient advocates can help you understand your VA benefits, and provide insight on the best way to file a VA claim.
Veterans that have been exposed to asbestos may be eligible for financial compensation from bankruptcies and trusts that have been established for veterans that have sustained injuries during military service. It is important for veterans to understand that trust fund claims seek money from the companies and products that led to their asbestos exposure.
Asbestos in the Military
It was easy for any serviceman or woman, especially members of the U.S. Navy, to be exposed to asbestos. In the 1930s through the 1970s, Navy leaders required that it be used on every sea vessel in an effort to modernize the fleet. During World War II alone, more than 6,000 ships were built in shipyards in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Seattle, just to name a few.
Asbestos use wasn’t curtailed until the mid 1970s, long after millions of soldiers and their families had been exposed. Asbestos was used in every branch of the military, and is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer. We encourage veterans to take advantage of the free resources and services we provide.
Help Filing a VA Claim
- Exposure Summary – We help veterans identify and write the required exposure summary that identifies specific areas of exposure.
- Documentation – We help veterans identify the proper documentation and verifications needed to prove military asbestos exposure, and make sure that these necessary documents are included in the application.
- Claims Submission – We review previously denied claims for mistakes and omissions for appeals. is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer. We encourage veterans to take advantage of the free resources and services we provide.
Have your questions answered by a military veteran now.
Of the military veterans who are at risk for developing deadly asbestos cancer, Navy veterans are in the most danger because asbestos was extensively used in all aspects of naval life. For decades, asbestos manufacturers hid the dangers from Navy authorities to ensure they would keep making money.
From ships to clothing to sleeping quarters, asbestos was used in land, sea and underwater vessels in the Navy. This means that servicemen and women had no chance to escape the dangers of this mineral, which is known to cause mesothelioma. Even though there are only a limited number of items being made in the United States today with asbestos, it is still a threat. Many asbestos-laden vessels and vehicles are still in service and others are being shipped into the U.S. daily.
Army veterans who spent any amount of time inside military vehicles, military sleeping quarters or any sort of military building run a high risk of developing mesothelioma.
For Army personnel, the biggest risks come for those who worked in certain jobs including pipe-fitting, mining, mechanics and shipyard, demolition and construction work. Also, soldiers who have recently served overseas in countries that include Iraq and Korea run a high risk of exposure. Asbestos is used abundantly in these countries.
The Marines are a special unit in the U.S. military because they are known to attack from the sea, land and air. This means they use all types of vehicles and vessels. Asbestos was used everywhere because it is sturdy, resilient and cheap.
In fact, in some cases Marines have a better chance than other servicemen and women of being exposed to this dangerous mineral. Early on, entire Marine units were deployed on Navy vessels, which are known for asbestos dangers. The Marines lived in barracks that were covered in asbestos and worked in tanks and other motor transport vehicles that utilized asbestos. They wore protective clothing made from asbestos fibers and worked under conditions that made it nearly impossible to avoid asbestos exposure.
Air Force Veterans
As in other military bases nationwide, Air Force bases used asbestos in all aspects, including housing, dining halls and work facilities. The use was so widespread that in 2002, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that Air Force servicemen and women were exposed to asbestos at Burns Air Force Station in Oregon. The insulation in the base buildings contained up to 60 percent asbestos, while the wallboard had up to 25 percent. The contamination was so bad that Burns was declared a Superfund site, which means it requires long-term and intense cleanup. This has happened at several Air Force bases nationwide.
Asbestos was also widely used in different parts of the aircraft including the cockpit, brakes and cargo bays. It was also used to repair damaged aircraft’s during World War II and the Vietnam War. Soldiers were never warned about the dangers even though the problems were widely known. In 2013, the Air Force updated its rules and regulations regarding asbestos abatement. The new rules establish more detailed guidelines for removing the material.
Coast Guard Veterans
As recently as 2012, the Coast Guard identified serious asbestos-related health hazards on inland tenders. Health and safety workers found nearly 5,000 square feet of damaged friable asbestos aboard an inland construction tender fleet. There was no formal training to address asbestos control and no way to tell how long the asbestos had been there. There was no way to tell how many people were exposed.
Coast Guard officials have acknowledged that asbestos has been found in a variety of materials on cutters including thermal insulation, spray-on vermiculite coatings, fireproofing, brake linings and gasket materials.
- The Navy Department Library. “Building the Navy’s Bases in World War II.” Retrieved from http://www.history.navy.mil/
- Hedley-White, J. et al. “Asbestos and Ship-Building: Fatal Consequences.” Ulster Medical. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2604477/
- Journal of Korean Medical Science. “Overview of Asbestos Issues in Korea.” Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2698178/
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs. “Asbestos.” Retrieved from http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/asbestos/index.asp
- Marines. Asbestos Program. Retrieved from http://www.29palms.marines.mil/Staff/G7MissionAssurance/CenterSafety/AsbestosProgram.aspx
- U.S. Geological Survey. “Reported Historic Asbestos Mines, Historic Asbestos Prospects, and Other Natural Occurrences of Asbestos in California.” Retrieved from ftp://ftp.consrv.ca.gov/pub/dmg/pubs/ms/59/MS59_Pamphlet.pdf
- Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. Public Health Assessments & Health Consultations. Retrieved from http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hac/pha/PHA.asp?docid=271&pg=1
- Fedder, J. Air Force Instruction 32-1052. Facility Asbestos Management. Retrieved from http://www.wbdg.org/ccb/AF/AFI/afi_32_1052.pdf
- U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard Yard. Retrieved from http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg4/yard
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security. United States Coast Guard. Asbestos Management Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP). Retrieved from http://www.uscg.mil/forcecom/ttp/pubs/CGTTP_4-11_1_Asbestos_Management.pdf