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Veterans at Increased Risk for Mesothelioma
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Veterans at Increased Risk for Mesothelioma

Health Care and Disability Benefits

The VA has now recognized that veterans may be at an increased risk for developing mesothelioma, cancer associated with exposure to asbestos fiber. The government has announced that during World War II, several million people were employed in U.S. shipyards. U.S. Navy Veterans were exposed to amosite and crocidolite since these varieties were used extensively in military construction.

How Veterans Have Been Exposed to Asbestos during Military Service

Veterans who served in some of the following major occupations may have been exposed to asbestos:

  • Mining
  • Milling
  • Shipyard work
  • Insulation work
  • Demolition of old buildings
  • Carpentry and construction
  • Manufacture and servicing of friction products, such as clutch facings and brake linings
  • Manufacture and installation of products, such as roofing and flooring materials, asbestos cement sheet and pipe products, and military equipment

Health Problems Associated with Exposure to Asbestos

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 (the mid-1970s).
  • Pleural Plaque 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).

The VA has indicated that exposed veterans may be eligible for governmental benefits, including Health Care Benefits, Disability Compensation Benefits, and other benefits including: home loans, vocational rehabilitation, and education.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne, NJ, is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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