Air Force Veterans Exposure

Posted on Monday, May 30th, 2016 at 2:26 pm    

Air Force Veterans Exposure

The Air Force dates back to 1947, where it was commissioned as an independent branch of the United States military forces. Throughout the twentieth century the Air Force has used asbestos for its heat resistance, durability and affordability. The Air Force used asbestos in the construction of bases, radar stations and for the inside of planes. Many Air Force jobs put service members at risk of asbestos exposure. These service members may have been exposed to asbestos used in the construction of the bases they were stationed at. The following jobs may have had more exposure than others:

Air Force Veterans Exposure - Chrysotile asbestos brake lining

Air Force Veterans Exposure – Chrysotile asbestos brake lining


  • Aircraft electrician
  • Aircraft mechanic
  • Vehicle mechanic
  • Environmental support specialist
  • Welders
  • Boiler workers

As well as the contractors used to construct bases and radar stations.


Air Force Veterans Exposure: Asbestos in the Air Base

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the presence of asbestos in Air Force facilities in 2002. Ten to sixty percent of insulation contained amosite and chrysotile asbestos. In the wallboard ten to twenty-five percent contained chrysotile asbestos. While tile and mastic contained five to eight percent of chrysotile asbestos. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the following common asbestos materials on different Air Force bases:

  • Floor tile
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Pipe insulation
  • Asbestos cement wall insulation
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Drywall

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2004, safely disposed of some 377.5 tons of asbestos containing materials from the Burns Air Force Radar Base in Harney County, Oregon. The asbestos containing materials included insulation, pipe wrap, tiles and wallboard.


Airforce Veterans Exposure: Asbestos on Planes

Asbestos was used in the process of building and maintaining aircrafts. The main reason asbestos was the material of choice was its ability to protect the aircraft from fire and heat. The following aircraft items contained asbestos:

  • Gaskets
  • Electrical wiring
  • Insulation
  • Torque valves
  • Cockpit heating systems
  • Heat shields for engines
  • Brakes
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