It has been reported that Veterans of the Armed Forces are at a higher risk of developing Mesothelioma, because they have been exposed to asbestos during their military career. In the USA, Veterans are responsible for around one-third of Mesothelioma cases.
It is reported that asbestos used to be seen as an ideal material for use in many buildings. This would include military bases and barracks. Asbestos would also be used extensively when building warships, planes and cars. This reportedly means that members of the military could have been exposed to asbestos during their time of service and those involved in construction or shipbuilding would be particularly at risk.
Those Veterans who served from 1940 to 1980 are reportedly most at risk of asbestos related diseases although it is still possible that those who served later may have been exposed to asbestos which in particular may have been present in buildings.
Those Veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq may also have come into contact with asbestos through old buildings containing this material. Many of the Veterans being treated in the USA today for Mesothelioma may have come into contact with Asbestos during the Vietnam or Korean Wars.
Exposure to asbestos could also put families at risk. The asbestos dust would clink to clothes and could contaminate the Veterans’ homes. Wives and families of Servicemen could therefore be at risk of inhaling the asbestos dust, particularly if they washed the uniforms.
Andrew Stinchcombe of Novum Law comments “This is a sad reminder that the legacy of exposure to asbestos dust can still cause problems. It can take many decades for Mesothelioma to develop after the exposure to asbestos occurred, and unfortunately this disease remains incurable. Although this study mainly relates to Veterans in the USA, it is likely that Veterans in the UK may also have come into contact with asbestos dust during their working lives in a similar manner”.
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