Saturday, August 11, 2012

Veterans Exposed to Asbestos Between the 1930s and 1980s Are At-Risk for Mesothelioma Development: by Doug Karr

Veterans Exposed to Asbestos Between the 1930s and 1980s Are At-Risk for Mesothelioma Development: a guest essay by Doug Karr for "Behind the Lines" blog

Veterans account for 30 percent of all mesothelioma patients. Navy veterans have the highest risk of asbestos exposure. The exposure is typically a result of working on the shipyards from the 1930s to the 1970s. These marine vessels were filled with asbestos-based products in an effort to reduce the risk of fire. The hazard of asbestos was discussed by the Surgeon General of the Navy in the late 1930s, but many of the warnings were ignored because the benefits of using the material were immense.

In the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to regulate and reduce the use of asbestos. This momentous change in policy marked the beginning of public responsibility regarding asbestos and its role in the development of mesothelioma cancer.

What is Pleural Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma cancer is assigned a name based upon the area of the body afflicted by the cancer. Pleural mesothelioma affects the lungs and is one of the more common types of mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma has also been known to affect the heart and the stomach. Pleural mesothelioma occurs when asbestos is inhaled and becomes lodged in the patient’s lungs. The asbestos may lie dormant for 10 to 50 years before mesothelioma develops. It is often difficult to determine the date of exposure because the dormancy period is so long.

What is the Most Common Way a Person is Exposed to Mesothelioma?

When examining the medical records of most veterans, studies show that exposure occurred mostly in people who worked in engine rooms and storage rooms. Asbestos was used in cables, gaskets and valves. The deadly mineral was also commonly used in navigational rooms and mess halls.

All branches of the military used asbestos. Veterans who served between World War II and the Vietnam War were at the greatest risk of exposure to asbestos. Since the machinery using asbestos was not replaced until several years after the Vietnam War, the risk of exposure extended several years beyond wartime.

According to the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, other vulnerable populations include:

. Navy veterans who served on ships with keels made before 1983
. Any Navy personnel who served and worked on below deck on a ship before the 1990s
. Navy veterans who served in shipyards any time between the 1930s and the 1990s
. Any Navy personnel in charge of removing asbestos in engine rooms or ask to rewrap pipes with asbestos
. Pipe fitters, boiler operators and welders who were tasked with renovation and demolition may have worked with asbestos paste to re-wrap pipes
. Military personnel who worked in Brooklyn Navy Yard, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point Long Beach Naval Shipyard and Norfolk Navy Shipyard and were exposed to exposed to asbestos through power plants, auto production facilities, steel mills, refineries and construction sites

Asbestos Exposed Veterans Should Seek Help.

Veterans exposed to asbestos during wartime and afterwards should seek help. Veterans exposed from 1930s to 1980s are at-risk of developing mesothelioma now. Resources are available to help people exposed to asbestos.

2 comments:

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