Today there are approximately 25 million veterans in the United States from all wars and all branches of service. Veterans who have served our country are at risk of developing mesothelioma or another fatal asbestos disease as a result of asbestos exposure. While veterans represent 8% of our nation’s population, veterans comprise 30% of all known mesothelioma deaths that have occurred in this country.
Veterans who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma have legal rights and may be able to recover compensation for their losses and suffering. Only an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will know if you have a valid legal claim.
California asbestos mesothelioma law firm Kazan Law has been helping veterans injured by asbestos exposure since 1974. We can help guide you through the steps in discovering how and when you may have been exposed to asbestos and assist you in discovering if you may be due compensation by any company that may have been responsible for your asbestos exposure.
Veterans and Asbestos Exposure
Veterans of the U.S. armed forces who served between 1940 and the 1990s are at great risk of developing asbestos-related diseases due to a high rate of asbestos exposure. U.S. Navy personnel and workers employed in U.S. shipyards during World War II and thereafter until the 1970s have the highest risk of developing lung ailments because asbestos was frequently used in the construction of navy ships. Many of these men worked in the ships’ boilers rooms and engine rooms – tight-fit, poorly ventilated areas – where asbestos fibers floated freely and were inhaled.
Vietnam veterans who served from 1964 through 1973 are at great risk for contracting mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos that was prominently used in ships, transport vehicles, garage repair shops and building construction materials.
People who lived at or worked on military bases, or were closely associated with base employees, during that time are also susceptible. Veterans were prone to carry asbestos dust home on their clothes, thereby exposing their loved ones to the dangerous fibers. There have been many cases of veterans’ family members becoming sick through second-hand exposure. Secondary exposure is especially troubling for wives who might have washed their husbands’ work clothes that had fibers stuck to them.
The latency period for mesothelioma is typically between 20 and 50 years after the first exposure to asbestos. This means that veterans exposed to asbestos who retired from active duty decades ago can be experiencing mesothelioma symptoms today. A mesothelioma diagnosis is often delayed because many mesothelioma symptoms mimic symptoms of other, less serious illnesses:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain and/or persistent cough
- fever, night sweats and weight loss
- pain or swelling in the abdomen, nausea, weight loss, bowel obstruction, anemia or swelling of the feet due to build-up of fluid
A thorough history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests are needed to evaluate asbestos-related disease. Chest x-rays are the best screening tool to identify lung changes resulting from asbestos exposure. Lung function tests and CAT scans also assist in the diagnosis of asbestos-related disease.