Air Force Veterans and Mesothelioma
Like other branches of the United States Armed Forces, members of the United States Air Force were at a higher than average risk of asbestos exposure than civilians between the 1940’s and late 1970’s. During that time, the dangers of asbestos were not fully known and the mineral was cheap, abundant and its properties for heat and fire resistance made it a great building material.
Asbestos was used in the construction of many Air Force bases in America and abroad. It was used in pipes, cement, tiles, and joining compounds. It was also heavily used as an insulator, especially around hot water heaters, cooling systems, and fireplaces. It was also used in the gaskets placed inside airplane engines and large machinery.
Asbestos exposure can result in a variety of health hazards affecting the lungs including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Asbestosis is one the most common diseases associated with asbestos exposure and it is caused when the asbestos fibers scratch the tissues in the lungs, making it hard for the victim to breathe, eventually turning into respiratory failure.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the delicate lining around major organs. Mesothelioma often takes decades to form and many victims die within years of the diagnosis. Right now there is no cure for mesothelioma, but many doctors and clinics are making breakthroughs and there have been reports from Germany and the UK of tumors shrinking in response to treatments.
Veterans who are suffering from mesothelioma can apply for military benefits to help them in their time of need. While you cannot seek compensation from the Air Force through a lawsuit, some veterans have received compensation by filing a claim against construction companies who worked on or near the military bases.
If you are an Air Force veteran who suffers from mesothelioma, you should realize that you are not alone. There are many groups across the country that are setting up support communities and who are lobbying to find new treatments and a cure. Many of these members are fellow veterans and their families who have a similar situation as you.