Shipyard Asbestos and Toxic Consequences: Veterans of the Navy with Mesothelioma

If you are a veteran of the navy with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, contact Shrader and Associates, LLP to discuss your legal interests.

Shipyard Asbestos and Toxic Consequences: Veterans of the Navy with Mesothelioma

One of the largest groups affected by asbestos are veterans of the navy with mesothelioma and other related conditions. Their stories are among the most tragic, detailing the dedicated patriotism, decorated military careers and ultimate illness endured by many brave men and women.

Understanding the role asbestos exposure played in this terrible sequence of events first requires an understanding of the material itself.

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that can be divided into two main types: chrysotile and amphibole asbestos. Both are silicate, or rock-forming, minerals that are mined from natural sources and used in consumer products. Asbestos was once considered a miracle of manufacturing, highly regarded for its exceptional physical properties—unusually strong and able to resist fire and extenuating heat.

During its heyday—much of the eighteen- and nineteen-hundreds—asbestos was a primary ingredient in the manufacturing of countless, common household products. Even children’s toys were not immune from its routine inclusion. Yet, the most common uses for asbestos remained within the construction industry—primarily, insulation for buildings as well as ships.

For veterans of the navy, mesothelioma is likely the result of exposure while working aboard ships with asbestos-made parts. The most probable culprits are piping insulation and fireproof doors and walls, but everything from flooring to motors regularly included the toxic substance.

The dangers of asbestos did not become widely recognized until the later part of the 20th century, when doctors began to see increasing numbers of illness connected to its use. Most prominent of these is malignant mesothelioma, but other illnesses—including asbestosis and lung cancer—are also connected.

Sadly, by the time the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal organizations began to take action, millions of people had already been exposed. Though asbestos is today recognized as a dangerous carcinogen, it continues to be found in limited use—in addition to within structures built prior to the 1970s.

For veterans of the navy, mesothelioma is likely the result of contact with asbestos that has been broken up and released into the air as tiny crystal fibers. To the naked eye, these appear as a fine powder or dust. Unsuspecting victims swallow or breathe in the crystals, resulting in its gradual accumulation within the linings of vital organs—most often, the lungs and stomach.

When asbestos fragments cause enough damage, mesothelioma is the result. A rare but terminal cancer, this illness strikes more than 10,000 people in the U.S. each year and has little sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses generally take a long time—upwards of 30 years or more—to develop. For this reason, many veterans of the navy with mesothelioma do not even suspect that they are at risk for the illness at the time it is diagnosed.