Army Veterans Exposure

Posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 at 2:23 pm    

Army Veterans Exposure

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Asbestos was one of the materials that contaminated about thirty-two army bases which were closed down during the late 1990s. The United States Armed Forces used large amounts of asbestos materials throughout the twentieth century, thus army veterans were exposed to asbestos fibers.

Though the use of asbestos for construction was stopped in the late 1970s, it remained in the buildings it was already used to construct. This was true of many army bases. The risk of asbestos exposure in general poses a health threat due to the long lag/gap period (latency period) between ones first exposure and the surfacing of symptoms. The latency period is ten to fifty years, thus it is important that all army veterans take time to learn as much as they can on asbestos exposure and asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. They should also familiarize themselves with the symptoms and available treatment.

Army Veterans Exposure: Asbestos Exposure

As a result of asbestos’ usefulness and affordability, it was deemed a valuable resource. Its characteristics of durability, fire resistance and cheap pricing made it a perfect fit for the army in respect of construction use.

Asbestos uses – asbestos was used in all building construction, this included where soldiers worked, ate and slept. It was used in insulation, cement foundation, plumbing, roofing and flooring. Even vehicles had asbestos in their gaskets, brake pads and clutch pads.

Duties exposed to asbestos – the United States Department of Veteran Affairs listed a number of duties performed by service members that directly exposed them to asbestos inhalation. Some of these duties were:

  • Milling
  • Pipefitting
  • Demolition
  • Carpentry
  • Construction
  • Installation of asbestos products like roofing, flooring
  • Shipyard work

Recent exposure – soldiers serving or who served in Iraq may be exposed to asbestos. Iraq is one of the countries in the Middle East that imports large amounts of asbestos for the use in construction, as a result soldiers may have been or may be exposed to asbestos fibers that are made airborne from demolition and transported by strong winds which are characteristic in Iraq.

In 1998, the United States Army adopted a program to protect its service members from asbestos risks by requiring compliance to all local, state and federal laws on asbestos by its personnel.


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