It’s well known that veterans are at higher risk of asbestos-related diseases because of the wide use of the dangerous mineral fiber in thousands of buildings and Navy ships from World War II until the 1970s.
Now, the U.S. Department of Defense has announced plans to increase spending on research into new ways to combat the fatal disease linked to asbestos exposure.
The Department of Defense’s effort includes funding of several million dollars for three mesothelioma research projects. The funds will support research into early detection of the disease and the development of new treatments, including clinical trials on a vaccine that could improve the prognosis for patients with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lungs, caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. The microscopic fibers become lodged in the lungs and can lead to development of respiratory diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis decades later.
Joseph Belluck, a partner in Belluck & Fox, LLP, a New York law firm that specializes in representing victims of asbestos related diseases, said the increase in research funding must be only the start of an effort to find a cure for asbestos-related disease that has killed thousands of veterans.
“Veterans who were willing to fight for their country now must have their country fight for them,” Belluck said.
The shipbuilding acitivities from before World War II until the 1980s exposed thousands of Navy veterans to asbestos exposure on a daily basis.
During World War II, several million people employed in U.S. shipyards and U.S. Navy veterans were exposed to chrysotile asbestos products as well as other forms of asbestos that were used extensively in military ship construction, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Asbestos was widely used in shipbuilding to insulate boilers, steam pipes and hot water pipes.
Veterans involved in mining, milling, shipyard work, insulation, demolition of old buildings, carpentry and construction, manufacture of brake linings and clutch facings and manufacture of pipes. Veterans may be eligible for health care and disability compensation if the VA determines the asbestos exposure was related to military service.
Learn more about VA health care and disability compensation at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/benefits.asp.
Also, know more about mesothelioma and how you can deal with it.