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The High Incidence of Asbestos Exposure Among Veterans


Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used for centuries in various ways due to its unique properties. It is composed of small, durable fibers that are resistant to heat, fire, and chemical damage, making it an ideal choice for insulation, flooring, and roofing materials.

However, its use has been largely discontinued in recent years due to the serious health risks associated with its exposure. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can become trapped in the body, causing serious respiratory diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma.

One group that has been particularly affected by asbestos exposure is veterans. So what’s the logic behind it? This guide digs deeper to find the link.

History of asbestos use in the military

The history of asbestos use in the military is a long and troubling one. Despite being aware of the potential health risks associated with asbestos, the military continued to use the mineral in various applications, including insulation, flooring, and roofing materials.

This was particularly true during World War II when the demand for military equipment and infrastructure significantly increased and the use of asbestos soared.

As a result, many veterans were exposed to asbestos without being adequately warned or protected, and they now suffer the consequences of their exposure.

Health consequences of asbestos exposure among veterans

As we already said, people who are exposed to asbestos are more likely to get lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other diseases of the lungs.

Lung cancer affects lung tissues and is often caused by inhaling harmful substances such as tobacco smoke or asbestos fibers.

On the other hand, mesothelioma is a rare cancer that targets the chest and abdomen lining following asbestos exposure. Here’s a detailed guide worth checking out if you’re interested in understanding mesothelioma.

Other respiratory diseases linked to this dangerous mineral include asbestosis and pleural abnormalities. Asbestosis is a condition characterized by scarring of the lungs while pleural abnormalities in the lining of the chest can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing.

All these diseases can be expensive to treat, and many affected people cannot work and may struggle to pay for their medical care. Luckily, there’s hope for veterans impacted by asbestos-related illnesses as we’ll find out shortly.

Compensation and support for veterans with asbestos-related illnesses

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) gives veterans with illnesses caused by asbestos benefits and other kinds of help, such as money to cover lost wages and medical bills. But filing a claim and meeting the VA's disability requirements can be complicated. This makes it hard for many veterans to get the benefits they deserve.

You should know a few key things about filing an asbestos claim and seeking VA benefits to increase your chances of getting help.

First, get a letter from a doctor saying that the illness was caused by exposure to asbestos. This letter should explain your medical history and how your illness is related to your military service.

Also, veterans or their surviving family members need to write an asbestos exposure summary that gives a detailed account of the veteran's time in the military and any possible ways he or she could have been exposed to asbestos.

Finally, you should work with a VA-accredited claims agent or attorney to avoid the common pitfalls that a lot of veterans make when filing claims.

Programs available through the VA

The VA runs several programs to provide veterans with financial assistance for medical care and other expenses, as well as support for home modifications and other services that may be needed to manage an asbestos-related illness. The two key ones are Disability Compensation and Pension programs.

Disability Compensation

This program gives money to veterans who can't work because of a disability related to their service, such as an illness caused by asbestos. For veterans to be eligible, they must have a disability that is directly related to their time in the military and have been discharged with honor.

Pension program

This program provides financial assistance to wartime veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a non-service-connected disability, including those caused by asbestos-related illnesses. To be eligible, veterans must meet certain income and net worth limits and have served at least 90 days of active military service, with at least one day during a war period.

The VA also has several other programs and initiatives focused on improving the lives of veterans with disabilities, including the Adaptive Sports program, which provides opportunities for veterans to participate in a variety of adaptive sports and recreational activities.


It is unacceptable that veterans have been exposed to such high levels of asbestos and other toxins, with many of them now developing serious medical conditions as a result. As a society, it is up to us to recognize the problem and do everything we can to help those affected and ensure no one else goes through the same thing.

Even though preventive measures are starting to appear, it may be too late for some victims of asbestos exposure.

We urge governments and corporations worldwide to prioritize safety in their operations so that others will not pay the same price our veterans have.

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