The shipbuilding industry widely used asbestos before the U.S. government began severely limiting its use in consumer products. The fire retardant nature of asbestos made it ideal for insulating boilers, steam pipes and hot water pipes, making it useful in engine rooms and superstructures. Asbestos, linked to several diseases including mesothelioma, throat cancer and lung cancer, remains an occupational hazard in numerous industries. Given the previously-widespread use of asbestos in shipbuilding, Navy veterans are one group at high risk for asbestos-related illnesses. Veterans diagnosed with an illness that may have been caused by asbestos exposure may be entitled to compensation and can learn about their legal rights from an experienced asbestos attorney.
Navy personnel who worked in boiler and engine rooms with asbestos-containing materials, rooms typically characterized by tight spaces and poor ventilation, may have endured routine exposure to airborne asbestos fibers during their period of service. Inhaling these fibers can lead to the development of health complications such as mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. Sometimes asbestos-related illnesses appear decades after exposure, meaning older veterans who have not yet shown signs of or been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease remain at risk. These service men and women can develop health complications from their prior asbestos exposure at any time.
Families of Navy personnel who worked around asbestos-containing materials also have an increased risk of developing an asbestos-related disease, because of what is known as secondary asbestos exposure. Asbestos particles can become attached to one’s clothing, so Navy veterans exposed to asbestos at work may have carried asbestos particles into their households, inadvertently exposing their families to the dangerous substance.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, about 25 million individuals still living served in the United States Armed Forces. Navy personnel who worked in shipyards from the 1930s to the 1970s remain at risk for developing asbestos-related health problems, as do their families. Early detection of an asbestos illness can increase one’s chances of survival, making it important for Navy veterans and their families to promptly seek medical advice when they show symptoms of a respiratory illness like mesothelioma. For those individuals with known asbestos exposure, regular testing for certain diseases may be recommended by a healthcare professional.
Men and women whose service in the Navy left them suffering with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease can contact a qualified mesothelioma lawyer to learn about their legal rights and possible entitlement to compensation for their illness.