The Hidden Dangers of Service: Mesothelioma and the Military

Serving in the armed forces comes with substantial risk — even decades after retirement. Thousands of veterans have developed mesothelioma as a result of their asbestos exposure in the military, and millions more still face this threat. If you served your country in the Navy, Coast Guard, Army, Marines, or Air Force between the 1930s and 1980s, don’t ignore the early warning signs of this deadly disease.

What to Look For

Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that commonly affects the lungs after prolonged asbestos exposure. According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain, especially under the rib cage
  • Coughing that is painful
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
  • Unexplained weight loss

Primary Exposure Sites

The vast majority of people with asbestos-related mesothelioma were exposed occupationally. Navy veterans who worked in shipyards and construction settings face a notably high risk of exposure, but veterans from all branches of the military are potentially vulnerable. Before the risks of asbestos were known, it was viewed as a highly durable, flame retardant insulator. It was not only used in the military, but in manufacturing companies, power plants, and other industrial job sites.

Secondary Exposure

Veterans are not the only ones at risk. A large number of military personnel could have been exposed, including administrative staff, doctors, nurses, and even residents in the veteran’s household. Family members have even developed mesothelioma as a result of handling dirty work clothes or uniforms that were contaminated with asbestos fibers.

Facing the Consequences

It is unsettling that the very men and women who served our country have the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. Currently, retired veterans account for 30 percent of all known cases in the United States. The good news is, there are legal options available to help those affected.

Contact Ward Black Law  

Several attorneys with Ward Black Law formerly served in the military and have a passion for representing fellow veterans. If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma and believe it was a direct result of exposure during active duty, contact us today at (336) 333-2244, or toll-free at 800-531-9191. We can explain your legal options, from pursuing benefits to filing a claim, in a free and confidential consultation.