Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Military Veterans

By | August 25, 2016

Being in the military is a great sacrifice, and our brave service members throughout the history of our nation have undertaken this sacrifice, and they deserve our highest respect.  There are many ways in which a person in the military can be seriously injured or killed.While there are the obvious risks associated with being in combat, there are also many soldiers and sailors injured in training accidents and injured on the job in the same manner in which civilian workers are routinely injured.  While there is nothing that can really be done to prevent each and every one of these injuries and even deaths from occurring, there is one type of serious illness that could have been prevented for at least much the last century. This illness is malignant mesothelioma, which is caused in nearly every case by exposure to deadly asbestos fibers.  According to a recent news feature from the Daily News, veterans who served in any branch of the United States armed forces over the years are at risk from developing mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure.These days, since asbestos is no longer used in any large amount, there is a significantly lower risk of being exposed to asbestos fibers; however, there is still somewhat of a risk.  One of the reasons for this is because asbestos was once used in virtually every aspect of construction in the military, as well as civilian life, and also in shipyards and ship construction.  Many ships still in service where built during the time when asbestos was used in their construction.  When these ships are repaired, or even stripped for being taken out of service, there is a risk of asbestos exposure.The military and Boston mesothelioma lawyers refer to asbestos-containing materials as “ACMs” for short.  To get an idea of how prevalent asbestos was in the U.S. military, public records show that during even as late at the early 1970s, there were more than 300 ACMs being used on a regular basis, and soldiers and sailors were regularly being exposed to these asbestos fibers.When the service members inhaled these fibers, they would become lodged in a protective layer of tissue known as the mesothelium, where they can metastasize into the deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma. While those in the asbestos manufacturing and mining industry were well aware of the dangers the substance poses to anyone who inhales or ingests the fibers, they did not tell the general public.  They knew how dangerous asbestos was, but they also knew it would take between 20 and 50 years for someone to get sick, and they were making huge profits, so they not only kept this information secret, but went so far as to advertise asbestos as being safe for workers.When people became aware that asbestos was harmful, they started selling vermiculite and calling it a safe alternative to asbestos.  However, vermiculite is not a safe alternative to asbestos, because it forms in the same conditions as asbestos and is often mixed with asbestos.

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