Flight Mechanics and Asbestos Exposure

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Asbestos was the miracle material widely applied on Navy ships during World War II. Its high resistance to heat and excellent insulation properties made it an essential component of various products used in building vessels.

Thousands of Navy service members were exposed to the dangerous material on aircraft carriers, submarines, guided missile cruisers, destroyers, frigates, amphibious assault and transport dock ships, and miscellaneous Navy ships.

Asbestos is highly toxic when damaged and disturbed because it releases microscopic asbestos fibers into the air. Due to the lack of sufficient ventilation on the ships, all naval members were defenseless against the dangerous particles floating in the air. When inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers get caught in the lining of organs, causing irritation, inflammation, permanent tissue scarring, and even tumors. Cancers related to asbestos exposure make veterans eligible for compensation:

Routines like repair and maintenance on the ship disturbed asbestos frequently and put everyone onboard at a high risk of inhaling or ingesting the tiny asbestos fibers.

The Aircraft Maintenance Crew Encountered Asbestos Regularly

Flight mechanics were enlisted members on the aircraft carriers who maintained aircraft in optimum performance for naval aviators. Also known as aircraft mechanics, they tended to all central and auxiliary hydraulic power systems, actuating subsystems, and landing gear.

First named Aviation Metalsmiths, the rating was established in 1921 and evolved into the current Aviation Structural Mechanic (AM) rating in 1948. AMs were responsible for preserving the mainframe of the aircraft, wings, airfoils, and the associated fixed and moveable surfaces. Their duties included flight controls and conducting safety checks in various aircraft types before the flight. Maintaining aircraft structural components meant being responsible for:

  • brakes
  • reservoir pressurization
  • service pressure accumulators
  • emergency air bottles
  • oleo struts
  • brake cylinders
  • pneumatic systems
  • landing gear system

AMs inspected and replaced gaskets, packing, and wipers in hydraulic components. Repaired and replaced regular seats, wheels, and tires; fabricated and assembled metal components and made minor repairs to aircraft skin; welded and painted where due. Unbeknownst to them, the risk of asbestos exposure was high on the aircraft carriers built before 1980, and their service damaged their health irremediably.

Regular Appointments With the Doctor Help Discover Asbestos-Related Diseases in Time

Handling asbestos products directly and working without protective equipment is at the core of Navy veterans developing life-threatening diseases decades after service. Many are suffering now from asbestos-related illnesses connected to their job on the ships, so it is crucial to seek professional help and tell the doctor about your time in the military when experiencing:

  • chest pain
  • chest tightness
  • wheezing
  • dizziness
  • persistent dry cough
  • fatigue
  • pain with inspiration
  • shortness of breath
  • unintentional weight loss

Because asbestos-related diseases are complex, doctors can easily misread the symptoms and misdiagnose them for other respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD. Being vocal about past asbestos exposure is essential for an exact diagnosis and proper treatment. Considering that asbestos illnesses show symptoms only after decades from the initial exposure, it is best to make periodic lung checkups. They help reveal non-cancerous diseases caused by prolonged asbestos exposure:

  • asbestosis
  • rounded atelectasis
  • pleural plaques
  • pleural effusion
  • pleural thickening
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • COPD
  • emphysema
  • lung nodules and spots
  • chronic bronchitis
  • asthma

Even though a diagnosis of the illnesses above doesn't qualify a veteran to receive compensation, they should be kept under observation as asbestos-related non-cancerous conditions tend to develop into cancer. Asking for a second or third opinion from a pulmonary specialist outside the VA can ensure a correct assessment and diagnosis. A thorough evaluation is necessary for a precise cancer diagnosis that may qualify a veteran for claims and can establish the best therapy.

Helping Former Service Members of the Navy By Connecting Them With a Qualified Lawyer

If you were part of the U.S. Navy's personnel between World War II and the late 1970s and experienced severe health symptoms, you should immediately make an appointment with your doctor. Navy, Coast Guard, U.S. Army Transport Service, and Merchant Marine veterans diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, lost income, and other expenditures.

Although the legal procedure is complicated, a lawyer specializing in asbestos cases and with extensive professional expertise can significantly help. We can assist you in connecting with experienced attorneys who can aid you in getting the indemnification you deserve for your pain and suffering. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us now for more information.

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