Military personnel in services before the 1980s were in contact with asbestos on a regular basis. The material was used for their protection as a flame retardant and insulation— the United States Navy built ships that incorporated the material into almost every part of the ship. If a fire were to start on a vessel, asbestos laced components would contain the fire so that it would not spread to other parts of the ship. Through the duration of World War II, naval vessels transported many marines and soldiers before they landed in Europe and throughout the Pacific. Every person on a naval vessel came into contact with asbestos and those who saw combat may have inhaled dangerous quantities of it during their time in service.
The Significance of the Navy during World War II
During World War II, multiple branches of the United States military relied on the navy for support and to take beachheads at locations throughout Europe and the Pacific. The navy was instrumental to the war effort against Japan as forces moved from one small island to the next in one brutal battle after another. Naval vessels transporting marines and soldiers often came under fire from Japanese kamikaze pilots and warships on their way to their landing areas.
Asbestos may have saved lives throughout the war by making naval vessels more resistant to flames and helping contain explosions and fires, but whenever a ship was bombarded, asbestos dust was one of the toxins released into the air during battle. Military personnel would inhale large quantities of the fibers, which contribute to the development of asbestosis and mesothelioma. It is ironic that a substance that was meant to protect our troops ended up causing severe harm and when the link between asbestos and the diseases related to it was discovered, the navy discontinued the use of asbestos products unless absolutely necessary.
The Abatement of Asbestos on Naval Vessels
After the navy banned the use of any more products laced with asbestos, the existing products were not immediately replaced. Some of the parts containing asbestos were built to last for decades which means that the navy is just now needing to handle the replacement of those parts with safe alternatives. The removal process is extremely dangerous to those who are tasked with disassembling components that are comprised of as much as 90% asbestos.
The process can no longer be delayed, however, due to the tendency of asbestos to become brittle and break down over time. Naval vessels have been infested with asbestos since before the onset of World War II and the navy must put even more lives at risk in order to permanently fix the problem on older ships. After components are replaced on affected ships, crews must make sure that the entire ship is decontaminated before the ship returns to service.
Attorneys Proud To Represent Military Families
Chicago Mesothelioma Lawyers is dedicated to representing our veterans who have developed medical conditions as a result of their service to our country. If you are a veteran suffering from mesothelioma, you have special rights that you may not be aware of. Contact us today to learn more about your rights and whether you are entitled to compensation or reimbursement for medical bills incurred as a result of your condition and for the pain and suffering that you have endured. Our consultations are strictly confidential and we never collect a fee until we have collected damages for our clients.