This past Memorial Day, Americans honored our military men and women who died while serving their country and each other. Memorial Day is the most serious, somber, and deeply saddening United States national holiday.
Most Americans know that over 1.1 million Americans lost their lives in America’s wars. Most Americans know that Memorial Day was established as a national holiday to honor the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen/women, Coastguardsmen/women, and Merchant Mariners who gave the last full measure while serving our great nation.
What few Americans are less aware of are the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died or who have been made seriously ill from exposure to hazardous materials (HAZMAT) like asbestos. The vast majority of these veterans die after they leave the military and decades after their exposure.
According to the Veterans Administration (VA) Public Health Asbestos website, found at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/asbestos/index.asp,
Exposure to asbestos can be a serious and fatal health risk if asbestos-containing material is disturbed in such a way that the particles and fibers become airborne. This is especially true when workers and others do not wear specifically designed personal protective equipment. Symptoms of asbestos-related diseases, such as shortness of breath, coughing, lung scarring, and chest pain, often do not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure.
Veterans who served in any of the following occupations may have been exposed to asbestos: mining, milling, shipyard work, insulation work, vehicle maintenance, demolition of old buildings, carpentry and construction, manufacturing, and installation of products such as flooring and roofing. Veterans who served in Iraq and other countries in that region could have been exposed to asbestos when older buildings were damaged and the contaminant was released into the air.
Breathing asbestos mainly causes problems in the lungs and the membrane that surrounds the lungs, including:
- Asbestosis: Scarring of lung tissue that causes breathing problems, usually in workers exposed to asbestos in workplaces before the Federal government began regulating asbestos use (mid-1970s).
- Pleural plaques: Scarring in the inner surface of the ribcage and area surrounding the lungs that can cause breathing problems, though usually not as serious as asbestosis. People living in areas with high environmental levels of asbestos, as well as workers, can develop pleural plaques.
- Cancer: The two types of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos are lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the thin lining surrounding the lung (pleural membrane) or abdominal cavity (the peritoneum). Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer usually caused by asbestos exposure.
Veterans and their family members can learn more about asbestos and its health effects from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), https://wwwn.cdc.gov/TSP/ToxFAQs/ToxFAQsDetails.aspx?faqid=29&toxid=4.
What the military, the VA, and others do not tell veterans is veterans and their families can get compensation for cancer and non-cancer asbestos disease and injuries through over 50 asbestos trusts. Generally, the trusts list three qualifying non-malignant diseases: (1) severe asbestosis, (2) asbestosis/pleural disease with documented impaired lung function, and (3) asbestosis/pleural disease without impaired lung function.
This year, please join the ClearTrust Claims, LLP (CTC) team in honoring our fallen troops, and please help in their efforts to get the word out about filing claims against asbestos trusts for asbestos injuries.
If you have any questions about filing a claim call the experts at CTC at 202-449-7681 or send them a secure message at https://www.cleartrustclaims.com/contact/.
Veterans may also file a claim with the VA for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to exposure to asbestos during military service. Learn how to file a claim (online, by mail, or in person) with the VA for Disability compensation at https://www.va.gov/disability/how-to-file-claim/. Filing a claim with the VA does not affect a veteran’s eligibility to file a claim against an asbestos trust using the expert advice and services of CTC.
If you would like to talk with another veteran who has used CTC to help him file a claim for asbestos-caused non-cancerous injuries, CTC can refer you to another veteran who is highly satisfied with the personalized help he received at CTC.
You Served Us
Now Let Us Serve You
Written by. US Army Lt. Colonel Retired W. Larry Dandridge, a Vietnam War Wounded Warrior, a combat 100% service-connected disabled veteran, a past Veterans Service Officer, and the author of the award-winning BLADES OF THUNDER (Book One).