Mesothelioma & Veterans: Asbestos Exposure in the Navy

The U.S. Navy has a long history of asbestos use. This means that thousands of Navy veterans may have been exposed to this dangerous substance and are at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos while serving in the Navy, the personal injury attorneys at Meirowitz & Wasserberg can help you recover compensation. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Quick Links

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that gained widespread popularity due to its heat-resistant, insulating, and fire-retardant properties. Made of thin, durable fibers, asbestos was used in various industrial, construction, and consumer applications for much of the 20th century.

You can find significant historical use of asbestos in the U.S. Navy. As the popularity of asbestos increased, the Navy heavily integrated it into vessels and shipyards due to its effectiveness in insulating pipes, boilers, and electrical systems. However, this posed a significant health risk to Navy personnel and shipyard workers because inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to serious respiratory diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition after serving in the Navy, you are likely entitled to compensation. At Meirowitz & Wasserberg, we’re dedicated to helping victims of asbestos exposure in the Navy recover the full and fair compensation they deserve. Reach out to us by calling (212) 897-1988 or visiting our contact page to schedule your free consultation.

Legal Rights and Compensation for Affected Navy Veterans

Navy veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their service have a legal right to seek compensation for the health issues they’ve developed as a result. For example, you may be entitled to disability compensation through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, otherwise known as the VA, which can provide you with monthly, tax-free payments.

In some cases, it may also be possible to seek additional compensation by filing a lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors that supplied asbestos to the Navy. When considering this route, it is essential that you file before the filing deadline set by the statute of limitations. Learn more by visiting our Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations and Timeline page.

U.S. Navy shipman pulling a rope

When you turn to Meirowitz & Wasserberg for help, we’ll explore all your legal options to maximize your compensation. Then, we’ll guide you through each step of the claims process. Our services include gathering evidence, filing a VA disability claim on your behalf, negotiating with at-fault parties, and representing you in court.

Our NYC asbestos lawyers are nationally recognized trial attorneys with an established reputation for obtaining favorable results for asbestos exposure victims. We have over 30 years of combined experience handling asbestos cases, many of which involved asbestos exposure in the Navy. Daniel Wasserberg, one of our founding partners, has even been named one of “The Top 10 Asbestos Lawyers” by The National Trial Lawyers.

Asbestos Exposure in the Navy

Historical Context of Asbestos in the Navy

Asbestos use in the Navy reached its peak during and after World War II. The Navy used the material in various applications to take advantage of its fire-resistant and insulating properties. This included constructing and retrofitting ships, barracks, and naval facilities, as well as incorporating asbestos materials in vehicles, equipment, and machinery. The Navy used asbestos insulation, gaskets, pipe coverings, and more to protect against fires, high temperatures, and other hazards.

The use of asbestos by the military continued after World War II and extended into the Korean War and Vietnam War. Ships constructed and refurbished during these conflicts often contained asbestos materials in their infrastructure, putting Navy personnel at continued risk of exposure.

Although the Navy stopped using asbestos in new projects by the mid-1970s, the damage had already been done. Countless veterans had already been exposed to this hazardous mineral, and many more were exposed in the following decades due to the continued use of structures and equipment that contained asbestos.

Health Risks of Asbestos Exposure in the Navy

Asbestos-related diseases often have a long latency period, meaning symptoms may not appear for several decades after initial exposure. However, if someone is exposed to extremely high levels of asbestos in a short period, they may experience acute respiratory distress, chest pain, or coughing. In most cases, though, there are no immediate symptoms to indicate a problem.

The most well-known health risks of asbestos exposure are long-term conditions with severe consequences, particularly mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of organs like the lungs and heart. It is almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure, and its symptoms typically do not surface until an average of 34 years after exposure. Other conditions associated with asbestos exposure include:

Prolonged exposure to asbestos can increase a person’s risk of developing these diseases, and Navy veterans face heightened risks. Navy personnel, shipyard workers, and those involved in ship construction and maintenance often worked near asbestos-containing materials. This proximity significantly increased their risk of inhaling asbestos fibers over an extended period.

Further, naval vessels often feature enclosed spaces where asbestos materials were installed in prior decades. This made proper ventilation and fiber containment challenging.

Recognizing Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos-Related Illnesses

Recognizing the symptoms of mesothelioma early is crucial for timely diagnosis and treatment. Get immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms of mesothelioma, especially if you served in the Navy before it started phasing out asbestos:

Shortness of breath

Pain in the side of your chest

Lower back pain

Persistent dry cough

Problems swallowing

Feeling like something is stuck in your throat

Swelling of the face and arms

Unexplained weight loss

Abdominal pain and swelling


Small intestine blockage

Nausea and vomiting



Unfortunately, not all mesothelioma cases present these symptoms during the early stages of the disease. Mesothelioma is often asymptomatic until it is more advanced. That’s why it’s vital for Navy veterans to get regular health screenings. The earlier medical professionals detect, diagnose, and treat mesothelioma, the higher the odds of surviving and recovering from its life-threatening health consequences.

Symptoms of other asbestos-related diseases often overlap with those of mesothelioma. Again, if you think you may have been exposed to asbestos while serving in the Navy, it is best to check up regularly with your doctor in case symptoms of asbestos-related conditions start to appear.

Preventive Measures and Current Status of Asbestos Use in the Navy

The Navy has taken extensive measures in recent decades to address the risks associated with asbestos exposure. For example, it has initiated asbestos abatement programs to remove asbestos-containing materials and replace them with safer materials in ships and naval facilities, particularly those where repairs are anticipated soon. This has significantly reduced the risk of exposure for current and future Navy personnel.

The Navy also adheres to strict safety regulations regarding the handling and disposal of asbestos-containing materials during maintenance, repair, and renovation projects. Ships and naval facilities undergo regular inspections to identify and address any remaining asbestos-related concerns.

Additionally, the VA has implemented special programs for Navy veterans who have developed asbestos-related diseases because of exposure during their service. Affected veterans who can demonstrate a link between their condition and their Naval service may be eligible to receive VA disability compensation. The amount of compensation you may be eligible for will depend on the severity of your condition.

FAQs: Asbestos Exposure During Naval Service

It is understandable to have lots of questions after being diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition. Our attorneys have answered some frequently asked questions below to help you understand more about asbestos exposure in the Navy, the risks posed to veterans, and your potential legal options.

Newly constructed vessels in the Navy do not contain asbestos. However, older ships and vessels that were built before modern-day asbestos regulations may still contain asbestos materials. The Navy has tried to isolate and contain any remaining asbestos in these ships to avoid the risk of exposure.

If you served in the Navy before asbestos regulations were put in place, it is more likely that you were exposed to asbestos. The use of asbestos-containing materials in the Navy was quite common until the 1980s. Additionally, if you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, such as mesothelioma, this is a clear indicator of past exposure.

Proving asbestos exposure in the military typically requires gathering the following forms of evidence:

  • Service records
  • Witness testimonies from colleagues who can corroborate exposure incidents
  • Medical records linking your condition to asbestos exposure
  • Expert opinions from medical professionals
  • Detailed accounts of your occupational history

Mesothelioma lawsuits can result in significant settlements or jury awards. Compensation may include coverage for medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering, and other negative impacts related to the illness. That said, each case is different and requires the individualized attention of a skilled attorney. The mesothelioma compensation a Navy veteran can receive from a mesothelioma lawsuit depends on many factors, including the severity of their illness and their ability to prove liability.

Yes. If your loved one died from an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking accountability and compensation. If you have lost someone you love due to asbestos exposure, we extend to you our most sincere condolences. We are here to support you and your family.

Contact Our Asbestos Exposure Attorneys to Learn More

We cannot overstate the importance of staying vigilant and taking prompt action if you notice even slight symptoms of asbestos-related sicknesses. Through regular health screenings and attentiveness to your body, you may be able to address potential health issues related to asbestos exposure in the Navy before it is too late.

It is also important that you act quickly to take advantage of legal avenues toward justice and compensation. Seeking legal guidance from an experienced attorney is an essential step toward holding responsible parties accountable and securing the financial compensation you are entitled to.

If you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, be sure to seek legal help from an asbestos and mesothelioma attorney at Meirowitz & Wasserberg as soon as possible. We are here to make sure you understand your full legal rights and options. Reach out to us by calling (212) 897-1988 or visiting our contact page to schedule your free consultation.


Get Your Free Case Review

Notable Results

Asbestos Exposure Verdict

Mesothelioma Settlement

Mesothelioma Settlement

Mesothelioma Related Cases


related Mesothelioma cases by Meirowitz & Wasserberg


Mesothelioma cases handled by Attorneys at Meirowitz & Wasserberg


Asbestos related cases by Meirowitz & Wasserberg

Our Office

New York City Office

left quotation marks
Choosing Sam and Dan to represent us in my father’s Mesothelioma case is one of the best decisions we could of made as a family. Their honesty, integrity, and compassion is unsurpassed. After interviewing with other law firms they were a clear and unanimous choice for my family. While no amount of money can compensate us for the loss of our dad, Sam and Dan have fought hard on our behalf which has helped us greatly in caring for our mom and her future needs. I highly recommend Sam and Dan and all the kind, compassionate members of their team.
page template 5 stars
Angelo M.
super lawyer Daniel Wsserberg
national trial lawyers badge
American association of justice member
Meirowitz Wasserberg bbb certification
Super lawyer Samuel Meirowitz