Asbestos was present on U.S. Navy ships for over 40 years. Because it was a cheap insulating material, it could be found in almost every part of the ship.
The shipbuilding industry applied more than 300 asbestos-containing materials on the vessels built for the Navy. Consequently, all Navy personnel aboard faced the danger of inhaling or ingesting the toxic fibers and developing diseases decades later. This is why many veterans have been diagnosed with asbestos-related conditions during the last period. In some cases, the tiny asbestos particles are the source of malignant diseases like:
- bronchial cancer
- lung cancer
- laryngeal cancer
- gastrointestinal cancer
- pharyngeal cancer
- colorectal cancer
- esophageal cancer
- urogenital cancer
Once the asbestos fibers enter the body, they get caught in the lining of the organs and can't be eliminated because their microscopic barbs keep them lodged. It leads to irritation, inflammation, and permanent scarring of the tissues and, ultimately, to tumor development. Veterans are eligible for compensation if diagnosed with cancers mentioned above.
Jet Engine Mechanics Came in Contact With Asbestos While Tending to the Aircraft
The Aviation Machinist's Mate rating was established in 1921, and it's the oldest U.S. Naval Aviation Rating still in service. The rating's abbreviation changed to AD in 1948, but the symbol has stayed the same since its establishment. On aircraft carriers, some jobs implied higher exposure risks than others: ADs or jet engine mechanics fulfilled duty on the flight deck, a boisterous environment with powerful vibrations and heavy air - conditions for potential asbestos exposure.
ADs were responsible for maintaining the aircraft's engine in operational condition at all times, hence their motto, "Keep 'em flying ." Also known as Navy aircraft engine mechanics, ADs performed routine maintenance, prepared aircraft for flight, and assisted in handling aircraft on the ground. Their duties included inspecting, troubleshooting, and preserving aircraft engines and the related systems:
- accessory gearbox
- accessory drive
- anti-ice system
- bleed air system
Jet engine mechanics also conducted oil analyses and determined engine degradation using test equipment and could serve as aircrewmen in various aircraft types. Because aircraft carriers built before the 80s were no exception from the mandated asbestos usage, ADs were unknowingly exposed to the toxic fibers.
Asbestos-Related Diseases Are Often Misdiagnosed
Health conditions linked to asbestos exposure are often asymptomatic, facilitating their misdiagnosis and mistreatment. Moreover, the symptoms of lung conditions deriving from contamination with asbestos can look like those of common lung problems. The inhaled tiny asbestos particles are at the root of non-cancerous diseases like:
- rounded atelectasis
- pleural plaques
- pleural effusion
- pleural thickening
- pulmonary fibrosis
- lung nodules and spots
- chronic bronchitis
Although receiving a non-cancerous diagnosis doesn't qualify a veteran to receive compensation, with the high risk of these illnesses turning into cancer, former service members of the Navy should seek a second or even a third opinion from a medical specialist outside the VA. It can ensure that they get a correct assessment. An adequate evaluation is essential for establishing the best-suited therapy, and with a precise cancer diagnosis, they may qualify for claims. A proper diagnosis is easier with information about possibly encountered asbestos exposure, so veterans must tell the doctor about their employment history. Offering valuable information could make a considerable difference in the medical evaluation.
A Malignant Disease Caused by Asbestos Exposure May Qualify You to File a Claim
Because the Navy mandated the use of asbestos in building ships between the 1930s and mid-1970s, health concerns related to asbestos exposure exponentially increased among the personnel who served on those vessels. Navy veterans suffering from cancer due to service-related asbestos exposure may seek compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The number of benefits they can receive will vary depending on the severity of their condition.
Should you decide to take legal action and file a claim with the VA to receive the financial compensation you deserve, we can help by contacting the best legal specialist for your case.