Asbestos was present everywhere aboard the Navy ships; pipes and electrical wire systems ran through every quarter, resulting in a working environment that contained high levels of asbestos and posed severe health risks.
With asbestos everywhere on the ship, all personnel onboard had minimal chances to avoid exposure. Consequently, many of the service members who served on the vessels built before 1980 developed asbestos-related cancers decades after their discharge:
- pharyngeal cancer
- laryngeal cancer
- bronchial cancer
- lung cancer
- esophageal cancer
- gastrointestinal cancer
- colorectal cancer
- urogenital cancer
Veterans diagnosed with cancer due to asbestos exposure qualify for compensation if their medical record shows a clear assessment of the life-threatening illness and may file claims with the asbestos trust funds and the VA.
As part of the Administrative Department, a personnelman was responsible for maintaining all administrative data and paperwork of the enlisted personnel, which was necessary for the ship to function correctly. Besides providing counseling related to occupations and grading of navy jobs, personnelman's duties also included the following:
- handling personnel records
- maintaining service records
- interviewing personnel
- creating forms
- preparing and publishing reports
- providing recommendations for new assignments
On top of the regular tasks, they often took part in other essential activities such as damage control or fire control - it further enhanced their risk of being exposed to the tiny asbestos fibers, as every damage to the ship's asbestos components released microscopic fibers of the toxic material into the air.
In most cases, the office setting of a Navy ship was a cabin that functioned as a sleeping quarter, too. It was usually a cramped space with heavy air, another potential risk factor for asbestos inhalation. Personnelmen were constantly in contact with asbestos elements while working long hours below deck, further increasing the chance of developing severe diseases.
According to Kenneth A., a personnelman aboard the USS Everglades (AD-24): "We didn't know that this toxic material is present everywhere on the ship, in everything around us. It's a terrible knowledge that the air we breathed was toxic, and we could be facing the consequences as time passes by."
Assisting Veterans to Claim Their Rightful Compensation
Before 1980, asbestos was used in all army operations for building ships, bases, weapons, and gear. It was water and heat-resistant and cheap - an ideal insulation material. Since the demand for asbestos was high, the manufacturers who sold asbestos products neglected the health risks of using it. Therefore, everyone who served and worked in the U.S. Navy and Air Force faced the danger of asbestos exposure without their knowledge. It is why many veterans struggle today with life-altering diseases as a consequence of their asbestos exposure.
If you're a former U.S.Navy member and have developed asbestos cancer, you have the right to expedited claims. We can help by connecting you with expert attorneys skilled in filing claims to gain you the benefits you deserve.