There are more than 20 million U.S. military veterans living today. This accounts for 7% of the total population. Research suggests that veterans account for 30% of the estimated 3,000 mesothelioma cases diagnosed every year. These numbers show that many U.S. military veterans living today are at a high risk of developing mesothelioma. So, why is this the case? What makes people who served in the military particularly vulnerable to this rare but fatal form of cancer? What is the connection between mesothelioma and the military? People who served in the military are particularly vulnerable to mesothelioma because of the U.S. military's extensive use of asbestos-contaminated products for many years. Mesothelioma most often results after asbestos exposure. In fact, almost all known cases of mesothelioma have some kind of asbestos exposure associated with it.
Asbestos as the Key Factor
Asbestos is a mineral that is found naturally in the environment. This mineral was widely used many years ago because of its properties. Asbestos-contaminated products were used in many things used regularly by the military. For example, the military used asbestos-contaminated materials in aircraft, tanks, underground bankers, submarines, mess halls, and shipyards, which put military personnel at significant risk of asbestos exposure, thus, developing mesothelioma. For instance, army mechanics and soldiers assigned to maintaining and repairing vehicles were at significant risk of asbestos exposure. Those who were living and working in places where asbestos-contaminated products were used were also at a high risk of exposure.
Dust is created when asbestos is broken up, for example, when maintaining or repairing a vehicle. When someone inhales or swallows this dust, asbestos fibers settle in the lungs or stomach. This may result in an irritation that ends up causing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Treatment for Veterans
If a veteran is diagnosed with mesothelioma, they can receive treatment at a VA medical center. A veteran can also receive medical care at specialized mesothelioma hospitals. Fortunately, there are many VA treatment centers and specialized mesothelioma hospitals across the U.S.
The Risk of Secondary Exposure
Family members of people who served in the military are also at a high risk of developing mesothelioma. Military personnel would be exposed to asbestos all day long. They would return home with asbestos fibers on their clothes. If military personnel returned home with asbestos fibers on their clothing, asbestos fibers could have been transferred. For example, wives who washed clothes covered in asbestos fibers were at risk of secondary asbestos exposure. Children, too, could have been exposed to asbestos when greeting their parents.
Legal Rights After a Veteran or Their Loved One Is Diagnosed With Mesothelioma
Veterans who are diagnosed with mesothelioma can file a VA claim and recover compensation. It is also possible for a veteran to recover compensation through other means, such as filing a mesothelioma claim/lawsuit or an asbestos trust fund claim. Family members of veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma also have legal recourse. An attorney can guide you accordingly.
Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.