Mesothelioma and Marine Veterans
United States Marine Corps veterans are a high-risk category for mesothelioma because of their exposure to asbestos during their time of service. Asbestos dust is now known as a carcinogen that causes mesothelioma, and it was used extensively in military construction, building, and demolition projects as well as on ships throughout most of the 20th century.
Veterans and Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos use was most prevalent between 1940 and 1970, and because mesothelioma does not present symptoms until as many as 50 years after exposure to asbestos, many Marines serving during this time period are just being diagnosed. The minimum latency period between exposure and symptoms of mesothelioma is 15 years, and because asbestos was not removed from military buildings until the late 1990s, more-recent Marines veterans may still be at risk. It has become an additional concern that Iraq War veterans may be at higher risk for developing mesothelioma because of heavy use of asbestos in the Middle East.
Risks Involved With the Military and Asbestos
Asbestos exposure to Marines was commonplace because asbestos was used in training facilities, storage facilities, mess halls, and barracks. Although U.S. Navy veterans tend to have the highest rates of asbestos-related mesothelioma, Marines commonly served side by side on Navy ships and relied on the boats for transportation, putting them at a similar risk. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) notes that servicemen and women may have been exposed to asbestos in a variety of military duties, including construction, demolition, mechanical servicing, milling, and manufacturing.
Even though the VA does not formally recognize mesothelioma as a service-related condition, the agency does state that veterans who were exposed to asbestos during service may be eligible for the costs of health care, compensation for disability, and other benefits. Also, even though Marines veterans may not bring lawsuits against the military or the government for asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, but they can hold companies that produced asbestos products responsible for damages.
If you were in the Marines and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please get in touch with the Department of Veterans Affairs to pursue medical and financial options. We can also help with further assistance – just fill out our form we have military veterans on staff with extensive experience in navigating the V.A. Claims process.