Which veterans are most at risk for health complications related to asbestos exposure?
Every branch of the military used asbestos materials for construction and manufacturing until the federal government started regulating its use in the mid-1970s. Because of this, if you were in the military during this time—or if you were involved in demolition or renovation work at a building constructed during this time—there are several jobs that may have put you at risk. For example:
- Shipyard work
- Insulation work
- Manufacture and installation of asbestos-containing products, such as floor tiles or roofing
Other veterans may have been exposed during service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and nearby countries when damage to older building caused contaminants to become airborne.
What are the signs and symptoms of health complications related to asbestos exposure?
When asbestos particles become airborne, they present a serious health hazard. However, a veteran who has been exposed to asbestos may not be aware of it for several years.
- Shortness of breath (At first only during periods of exertion but later even when you are resting.)
- Dry, persistent cough
- Chest pain
- Changes in the look of your fingers (A less common symptom happens when the tips of your fingers spread out and become wider.)
Unfortunately, symptoms of asbestos-related health problems can take between 20 and 50 years to manifest.
What diseases are tied to asbestos exposure?
As an airborne contaminant, most of the health risks for asbestos exposure are related to the respiratory system.
- Asbestosis – causes breathing problems related to scarring of the lung tissue.
- Pleural Plaques – also causes breathing problems because of scarring, this time of the membrane surrounding the lungs. It is generally considered less severe than asbestosis.
- Pleurisy – happens when the pleural membrane, tissue surrounding the lungs, becomes inflamed, making it painful to breathe.
- Lung cancer
- Mesothelioma – is a cancer that affects the pleural membrane or abdominal cavity.
Veterans suffering from illnesses related to asbestos exposure during their time in the military, as well as their dependents and survivors, may qualify for service-connected disability compensation.
To learn more about what the dedicated Dallas VA attorneys can do to help you with your veterans’ disability compensation claim, call Morgan & Weisbrod at 877-898-1581to schedule a free consultation today.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.