The citizens of Pierce County sold the land of McChord Air Force Base to the government in 1917 as a military reserve. The land was used for the building of Fort Lewis. In 1927, more land was delegated for an airfield to be called Tacoma Field. It opened for operation in 1930. In 1938, control of the airfield was transferred to the US government. In 1940, Tacoma Field was renamed McChord Field. In February of 2010, McChord AFB and Fort Lewis were joined into Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
McChord AFB Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure on military bases is generally limited to new construction and maintenance workers. In the case of McChord, asbestos is known to be used in many of their recreational facilities. To reduce overall downtime, maintenance and repairs are often done all at once. This means that any insulation that needs replacement, particularly that around steam pipes, is replaced while other contractors are on-site. While those working directly with the asbestos may be protected, the rest of the workers in the building generally are not. Forcing their exposure because it’s convenient is unacceptable, even for the military.
Construction of additional buildings and add-on structures can also be problematic. Again, the focus is usually on speed rather than safety. Even if some workers are taking the proper precautions, unless everyone is informed that the material is being used and provided appropriate countermeasures, the attempted safety measures fall a little bit flat. The military’s demand for expedited work undermines the health and security of the people working to improve and maintain their living spaces.
For those not wearing protective equipment, asbestos can easily make its way into the lungs and respiratory tract. Asbestos fibers that are embedded in the lungs can cause significant damage. This damage is cumulative – it gets progressively worse with time, even if exposure ceases. Ongoing regeneration of lung tissue puts a strain on the body’s cell reproduction systems. Each time a cell divides, it has a slight chance to become cancerous. Constant damage to tissues means constant division of cells and increased risk of cancer. The deadliest asbestos-related illness, mesothelioma, is a form of cancer that occurs not on the inner lining of the lungs, but on the outer lining. This form of cancer is very difficult to treat and even more painful to suffer. Fortunately, it’s also very easy to avoid: don’t breathe asbestos.
Victims of Mesothelioma at McChord AFB
We represent victims of mesothelioma. Our commitment to justice has helped us find security for all of those affected by illness – the victims as well as their families. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you’ve been exposed at McChord Air Force Base/Joint Base Lewis-McChord or any other site, we may be able to help you. For too many years, employers have traded profits for employee safety. It’s time to send the message that such practices are completely unacceptable.