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Asbestos Exposure
in the Navy

U.S. Navy bases in the Pacific Northwest used products and equipment containing asbestos. The men and women exposed to the hazardous material now face deadly health complications, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and chronic lung disease. If you developed one of these diseases after exposure to asbestos in the Navy, contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little for a free case review. We have helped asbestos victims and their families obtain justice and financial compensation since 1995.

Veteran with mesothelioma crying beside the American flag

Asbestos at Navy bases and shipyards is a significant health hazard for the men and women who served in the Pacific Northwest. The area’s shorelines and geographic location are ideal for shipyards and naval bases. Unfortunately, service members were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos in the Navy shipyards and bases. 

For much of the 20th century, the Navy used asbestos in the insulation, building materials, and gear issued to personnel. Asbestos at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, and other shipyards in the Pacific Northwest left service members and workers vulnerable to major health risks. 

Today, laws and regulations have greatly limited the amount of asbestos in the Navy bases and shipyards. But shipyards across the Pacific Northwest still contain dangerous amounts of the substance, putting Navy personnel and other shipyard workers at risk of exposure. Washington and Oregon residents who served in the Navy or otherwise worked in shipyards before 1980 are at particular risk of developing health problems from long-term asbestos exposure. 

If you are a veteran who developed an asbestos-related disease from exposure at a Washington or Oregon shipyard, you deserve compensation. Contact the dedicated asbestos attorneys at Bergman Oslund Udo Little.

How Was Asbestos Used in the Navy?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that forms in long, thin fibers. Asbestos has long been known as a good heat and electrical insulator. Asbestos was widely used in construction, craftsmanship, and clothing. 

The U.S. Navy used asbestos products extensively in bases and shipyards. Because asbestos is useful for fireproofing and protecting against salt corrosion, much of the equipment, building materials, and machinery used in Navy shipyards contained dangerous levels of asbestos. 

Asbestos was used in Navy shipyards in the following building components:

Asbestos was also used in the fire safety equipment issued to Navy personnel and workers, including gloves, aprons, and masks.

The Risk of Asbestos Exposure for Navy Veterans

While all Navy personnel stationed at a base were at risk for asbestos exposure, those at greatest risk were mechanics, technicians, electricians, plumbers, and anyone else repairing equipment containing asbestos. These workers are still at a higher risk of exposure today, as they often take apart and repair older Navy base equipment that still contains asbestos. 

Most asbestos exposure on Navy bases occurs when asbestos products are moved, cut, or disturbed, releasing the material’s microscopic particles into the air. Workers then inhale the tiny asbestos fibers. These particles accumulate in the lungs, where they can damage cells and cause chronic pulmonary conditions. This exposure can lead to potentially deadly diseases later in life, including several forms of cancer.

Navy Veterans and Mesothelioma

Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma—a deadly cancer affecting the mesothelium, the thin tissue surrounding the lungs. Mesothelioma is one of the deadlier forms of cancer, with the average survival rate following diagnosis only between 12 and 21 months. Common treatments for mesothelioma are chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. 

However, mesothelioma is often resistant to many common cancer treatments. While early-stage mesothelioma is easier to treat than more advanced stages, mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because its main symptoms mirror the symptoms of many other lung diseases. 

A 2019 study of 114,000 Navy veterans found that base and shipyard workers are at an elevated risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Workers found to be at the greatest risk were the following:

VA Benefits for Asbestos Exposure

Veterans who suffer from the health effects of asbestos exposure in the Navy may be entitled to VA disability benefits. In addition to mesothelioma, the VA also recognizes several other asbestos-related health conditions as service-related disabilities. These include: 

If you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions following asbestos exposure in the Navy, you can file for disability compensation through the VA. 

Demonstrating your eligibility for asbestos-exposure benefits may require you to provide documentation of your service, your discharge date, and the prevalence of asbestos in the base or shipyard where you served. You will also need to submit medical records verifying your diagnosis and statements from a physician confirming the connection between your diagnosis and past asbestos exposure at a Navy base. 

Currently, Navy veterans who served before 1980 do not need to meet a minimum period of active duty to qualify for benefits. However, veterans who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served at least 24 months or completed their active-duty period to qualify for benefits. Those who received a dishonorable discharge are ineligible for benefits. 

When filing for benefits, victims of asbestos exposure in the Navy may have to provide evidence that their asbestos exposure occurred in the Navy rather than from a civilian source. 

Bergman Oslund Udo Little’s asbestos lawyers in Washington have experience working on cases involving mesothelioma and veterans. Our legal team can help you during the claims filing process so you get the benefits you deserve.

Should Navy Veterans File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

Veterans and civilian workers who suffered military asbestos exposure may pursue civil lawsuits following the diagnosis of an asbestos-related health condition. In civil court cases, legal liability for asbestos exposure in the Navy lies with the parties outside the military responsible for manufacturing products and materials containing asbestos. 

If you are taking legal action following asbestos exposure in the Navy, you need a legal team with the experience and knowledge to get the compensation you deserve. 

The dedicated team at Bergman Oslund Udo Little has been fighting for asbestos victims in the Pacific Northwest since 1995. Our asbestos lawyers in Oregon and Washington have secured significant compensation for those who suffered asbestos-related health conditions from exposure while serving their country. 

Bergman Oslund Udo Little has an unmatched track record fighting for victims of asbestos exposure in Navy bases and shipyards. Some of our most notable cases include:

A diagnosis of mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos-related condition affects you and your family. If you are the victim of asbestos exposure in the Navy, you don’t need to fight alone. Contact the experienced asbestos attorneys at Bergman Oslund Udo Little for a free mesothelioma case review.

Contact The Firm

Representing asbestos and mesothelioma clients throughout the Northwest.

1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204

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