For years, asbestos was widely used for its’ heat and fire resistant properties. Unfortunately, as time went on, we learned that asbestos exposure lead to Mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
It has been estimated that veterans account for 30% of all mesothelioma cases. Ten thousand veterans die annually from asbestos-related deaths. The peak years of military use were 1935 through 1975 when it was commonly used to insulate pipes. Engine and boiler rooms of ships were prime locations for asbestos use, but it was used in other areas too, including sleeping quarters and the mess hall. About 3,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, with symptoms appearing 10 to 15 years after exposure.
Veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma can request benefits from the Veterans Administration if they can prove their disease is asbestos-related and occurred during their military service. They may qualify for special financial benefits from the VA including disability compensation, special monthly compensation and service-connected death benefits for surviving family members. They may also be due compensation from asbestos manufacturers. If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact your VA Medical Center to determine whether you qualify for benefits. Also, contact the Mesothelioma Foundation to find out if you qualify for assistance.