Mesothelioma & Veterans: Asbestos Exposure in the Air Force

Inhalation of asbestos fibers has been linked to many serious illnesses. If you suspect that you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos while serving in the Air Force, the attorneys at Meirowitz & Wasserberg can make sure you understand your rights and help you pursue compensation. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that is highly heat-resistant and fire-resistant. These properties made it a popular choice for various industrial applications in the 19th and 20th centuries. The U.S. Air Force used asbestos extensively at the height of its popularity when building facilities and machinery.

Despite its practical benefits, this widespread asbestos use came at a heavy cost to Air Force personnel. Air Force asbestos exposure can lead to severe health issues, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. If you or a loved one served in the U.S. Air Force and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, you may be entitled to compensation. 

At Meirowitz & Wasserberg, our attorneys have dedicated their careers to helping personal injury victims, including those exposed to asbestos while serving in the military. Let us fight for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Legal Rights and Compensation for Air Force Veterans Exposed to Asbestos

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, has a disability compensation program in place for veterans with service-related medical conditions. The compensation normally comes as a monthly tax-free payment. You are likely eligible for VA disability compensation if you developed an asbestos-related disease after serving in the Air Force. In some cases, it’s also possible to file a lawsuit against the companies that supplied asbestos-containing products and materials to the Air Force.

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When you turn to Meirowitz & Wasserberg with your Air Force asbestos exposure case, you’ll have a seasoned legal representative fighting in your corner. Starting during your free consultation, we’ll evaluate your situation and help you understand your legal options. Our asbestos lawyers will then handle each step involved in your case, including gathering evidence of your condition, completing your VA disability claim paperwork, negotiating with asbestos companies, and representing you in hearings. 

We have obtained over $360 million in compensation for our clients, including over $32 million for those exposed to asbestos. We have worked in our practice area for many years. This experience can make all the difference in the world for you and your family. Let us put it to work for you.

mesothelioma in the air force

Historical Context of Asbestos Exposure in the Air Force

The extensive use of asbestos in the Air Force can be traced back to at least World War II. During this conflict, asbestos was important in the construction of military facilities, including barracks, hangars, and other buildings. Because asbestos is fire-resistant, it was an attractive choice for these structures, helping to protect against the threat of fires during wartime.

Additionally, the U.S. military used asbestos to insulate aircraft, such as the B-29 Superfortress, as well as in various aircraft components. At the time, this insulation was crucial to safeguarding aircraft and their crews from extreme temperatures and fire hazards. Many of these asbestos-containing machines remained in service long after the war ended.

Asbestos use by the military extended well into the Cold War era. For example, during the Vietnam War, the Air Force was heavily involved in constructing and maintaining airbases and facilities in Southeast Asia. It used asbestos widely in these construction projects, as well as in continued aircraft construction and maintenance.

Health Risks of Asbestos Exposure in the Air Force

Asbestos-related diseases often have a latency period lasting several decades, so the symptoms may not appear until many years after a veteran’s initial asbestos exposure. While acute exposure to very high concentrations of asbestos may result in short-term respiratory symptoms, they can be subtle. 

The long-term effects of asbestos exposure are the most concerning and can result in serious and sometimes deadly illnesses. The most notorious asbestos-related illness is a rare and aggressive type of cancer known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure, and it appears an average of 34 years after the initial exposure.

However, mesothelioma isn’t the only severe illness that can result from exposure to asbestos. The following diseases also have a strong link to asbestos exposure:

Certain Air Force veterans face a particularly high risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses due to their occupations. For example, Air Force mechanics and technicians who worked on asbestos-containing aircraft components were potentially exposed to asbestos fibers when performing maintenance or repairs on aircraft.

This work can disturb existing asbestos and make it airborne. The more time Air Force personnel spent working on these aircraft, especially in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, the more airborne asbestos fibers they probably inhaled.

Recognizing Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos-Related Illnesses

Mesothelioma’s aggressive nature means it is crucial that it be detected and treated as soon as possible. If you served in the Air Force and notice any of the following mesothelioma symptoms, be sure to see your doctor immediately:

These symptoms could also indicate another asbestos-related disease. In some cases, an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma, may be asymptomatic until the more advanced stages. Make sure to let your doctor know that you may have suffered asbestos exposure while in the Air Force so they can take measures to ensure early detection if you do develop one of these illnesses.

Asbestos Abatement Measures in the Air Force

The 1970s marked a turning point in the use of asbestos within the Air Force and the rest of the military. Increasing awareness of the health hazards linked to asbestos exposure led to stricter regulations and a gradual phase-out of asbestos-containing materials in new construction. 

These efforts included the safe removal of asbestos from many Air Force bases and aircraft starting in the 1980s. However, asbestos can still be found on many bases, putting more veterans at risk.

U.S. army uniform, dog tag, and U.S. flag
U.S. army uniform, dog tag, and U.S. flag

Asbestos Exposure from the Air Force FAQs

You might have further questions if you were exposed to asbestos while serving in the Air Force. Our asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers have provided answers below to some of the most common questions we get from our clients.

If you worked in the construction or maintenance of aircraft and military bases in the Air Force, especially in the previous century, it is likely that you were exposed to asbestos during your service. A diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease is also a clear indicator of asbestos exposure.

Proving asbestos exposure in the Air Force normally requires documentation of your service history, including specific job roles and locations. Medical records, expert testimony, and witness testimony from fellow veterans can also support your case.

The compensation awarded in a mesothelioma lawsuit can vary widely depending on factors like the extent of exposure, the severity of your illness, and the liability of the responsible parties. Awards can range from thousands to millions of dollars.

Yes, it may be possible to file a lawsuit following the death of a veteran who passed away due to an asbestos-related disease. Depending on the laws of your jurisdiction, surviving family members or the decedent’s personal representative may be eligible to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit.

Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, Can Help If You Were Exposed to Asbestos in the Air Force

If you served in the U.S. Air Force and believe you might have been exposed to asbestos, do not hesitate to contact an attorney. Staying vigilant of symptoms and risks of asbestos-related illnesses can help you get treatment early on and significantly raise your odds of survival.

It’s also essential that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. An attorney experienced in Air Force asbestos exposure cases can help you obtain the compensation and resources you need, including vital medical care and support. Remember that your case may be subject to strict deadlines set by your state’s statute of limitations, so time is of the essence. 

At Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, our nationally recognized asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys are ready to help you and your loved ones down the path toward compensation. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.


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