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Study Shows 427,000 Years of Life Lost To Mesothelioma over Past Decade

Asbestos exposure over the past 50 plus years has caused many innocent people to suffer, and die, from lung cancer. A recent study shows that over 427,000 years of life were lost from just 1999 to 2010 due to early deaths related to these diseases.

Mesothelioma & Asbestosis Continue To Be Threats

Even though asbestos is no longer widely used in the U.S., mesothelioma and asbestosis continue to pose threats to Navy veterans and those who shared homes with them. Asbestos was commonly used in industrial settings such as shipbuilding and construction.

According to research conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine (AJIM), more than 427,000 years were lost from 1999 to 2010 due to early deaths from mesothelioma and asbestosis – the two most deadly diseases caused by asbestos exposure:


  • Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops from the cells of the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. While most commonly seen in the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), and the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart). It is an aggressive cancer that can spread across internal body membranes and is very difficult to treat.
  • Asbestosis. Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory and fibrotic medical condition affecting the parenchymal (functional) tissue of the lungs that results in lung scarring and is generally caused by the inhalation and retention of asbestos fibers.

Despite government guidelines for using and handling asbestos over the past 20 years, NIOSH researchers found that the overall number of life years lost to mesothelioma and asbestosis has changed little between 1999 and 2010. In fact, each year, approximately 3,000 people, many of whom are Navy veterans, are diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Navy Veterans & Civilians Who Worked With Them Are At Higher Risks

Navy veterans and the civilians who worked with them in shipyards (commonly referred to as yardbirds), are at higher risk of developing mesothelioma and asbestosis from exposure to asbestos – which was commonly used inside U.S. Navy ships and throughout the yards where ships were built, repaired and maintained.

The following occupations are some of the trades that navy veterans and civilians may be at a greater risk of contracting mesothelioma and asbestosis:

  • Boilermakers
  • Mechanics
  • Crane operators
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Laborers
  • Machinist/Mates
  • Merchant Marine Seamen
  • Painters
  • Pipe coverers
  • Pipefitters
  • Plumbers
  • Welders

Asbestos-related diseases and symptoms don’t often appear until decades later. Many Navy veterans exposed years ago may have only recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases.

The bottom line is that losing 427,000 years of life due to a dangerous product is simply unacceptable. Manufacturers of asbestos products used on Navy ships knew or should have known of the dangers of asbestos before it was used on ships – and should have warned others of the increased risks of developing serious illnesses that frequently lead to early death.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer from asbestos exposure, contact an experienced mesothelioma injury attorney who can analyze your situation and determine your legal options so that you can make an informed decision about what’s in your best interests.

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