Every day, an estimated three US Navy Veterans will be identified with mesothelioma in this current year of 2011. That’s over 900 new cases of mesothelioma in the Navy veteran population alone—almost one-third of the entire amount of expected mesothelioma cases nationwide.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a natural, fibrous material that was used for decades in insulator materials, gaskets, seals, and paints—many types of which were found on board Navy vessels. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes that in-place and intact asbestos-containing materials rarely cause a health danger, when materials degrade over time or with use asbestos fibers can become airborne. Once these fibers enter the body, they can form cancerous tumors that take decades to be identified.
While asbestos can affect various regions of the body, one of the most common is the lungs. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer which causes tumors to grow in the tissue surrounding the lungs. It is responsible for most of the mesothelioma diagnoses and deaths worldwide, often killing sufferers within months of their diagnosis.
In tight quarters, such as the bowels of a Navy ship, levels of airborne asbestos can quickly multiply to hundreds of times that of the ambient levels (roughly between .001 and .01 asbestos fiber per liter of air).
This means that hundreds of thousands of Navy veterans could potentially have ticking time bombs in their body and not even know it.
While the Navy has taken steps to make their ships and bases safer for current service members, those who already served may still be at risk. Mesothelioma has a decades-long incubation period. That means as much as fifty years could pass between the time a patient is initially exposed to asbestos and the time a doctor finds mesothelioma tumors.
Even after the disease is identified, it is still 100% fatal. There is no cure and most mesothelioma patients don’t live past the three-year mark.
Many critics say that the VA and other government sponsored agencies are not equipped, nor will they be in the future, to handle the ever-increasing number of veterans suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. And the number of diagnoses is only expected to grow.
Without government programs to pay for the expensive, extensive, and frustratingly futile treatments for asbestosrelated diseases, many veterans may be forced to turn to their own savings or rely on family members to support them during their time of need.
While the United States Armed Forces are immune from asbestos-related lawsuits, many of the companies that manufactured the products which contained asbestos and were used by the services are not. If you are a military veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact us immediately for a free case evaluation and to find out how we can help you file a mesothelioma lawsuit and get the financial settlement you need.