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Asbestos was widely used in various industrial products throughout the 20th century due to its heat and flame resistant qualities, it was regularly considered as a form of insulation and piping. Many countries ordered the use of asbestos in all of its military sectors, including the Navy.
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of living veterans were exposed to asbestos-containing materials during their service. Asbestos was valued so high that its use was widespread until the 1970’s, when it began to be phased out.
Asbestos-laden materials were utilized in almost every vessel built prior to World War II. Shipyard workers, sailors and tradesman aboard these ships were wrongfully exposed aboard navigation rooms, sleeping quarters and mess halls.
These shipyards were vital in efforts to build and repair ships on the west and east coasts of the country. The military also used asbestos as insulation aircraft, vehicles and buildings. Although asbestos exposure does not always lead to an illness, frequent and long term exposure will greatly raise those risks.
The danger for asbestos exposure is still present today with over $194,000 worth of asbestos imported to Iraq in 2003. Aside from daily threats from military assignments and enemy fire,
Soldiers stationed in Iraq based in the country are at risk because intense desert winds can carry asbestos dust many miles.
Asbestos exposure can cause serious illnesses such as asbestosis and malignant pleural mesothelioma, a severe lung ailment that accounts for three percent of cancer diagnoses in the United States. Asbestos-related illnesses may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure, which makes mesothelioma diagnosis even more difficult. Manufacturers were aware of the toxic qualities surrounding asbestos, but repressed this information from the public.
Currently, mesothelioma is not readily recognized as a service-related medical ailment. However, veterans can apply for Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits for asbestos-related illness and must provide proof that their exposure occurred at the time of their military service. It appears that until there is a vehement change in policies enforced on a federal level against the use of asbestos, it will continue to inflict damage and harm to yet another generation of innocent by standards.
Mesothelioma Cancer Center
I allowed some space to Jesse Harman to help spread this important message-Casey Brown-Myers
Monday, August 24, 2009
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