The high number of mesothelioma among Navy veterans

A gavel and a justice scale

The wide-ranging use of asbestos among the U.S. military branches has taken a toll on the country’s veterans. This fire-resistant mineral could be found in so many things from ships used by the U.S. Navy to vehicles operated by the U.S. Army. As a result, military members daily encountered asbestos-containing products, which led to their mesothelioma diagnosis decades later.

U.S. veterans account for roughly 30% of the estimated 2,600 new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year in the country. No group has suffered more so than Navy veterans. Navy ships contained a great amount of asbestos-containing materials in order to prevent them from catching fire at sea. Many areas within Navy ships contained asbestos, and unsuspecting sailors were not aware of its hazards.

Navy vessels contained lots of asbestos

U.S. military members serving from the 1930s through the late 1970s had a higher risk of developing mesothelioma because asbestos-containing products were so pervasive in their daily work lives. Although in the 1970s, the public became more aware of the dangers of asbestos, it still took several more years for the U.S. government to remove asbestos from its equipment, including Navy ships.

Asbestos-containing materials were in those sea-sailing vessels in areas from the propulsion rooms, pump rooms, and engine and boiler rooms to the sick bays and even living quarters. The sailor could not escape it, and as result, 30 to 40 years after initial exposure, they received a mesothelioma diagnosis.

We owe so much to our veterans who served our country. Many U.S. Navy veterans died protecting our freedoms while serving on the high seas. However, many continue to die decades later from a shocking disease caused by exposure to asbestos. It is now our turn to protect them and their families.

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