Rarely do veterans consider asbestos exposure, and the long term dire health consequences of cancer related diseases like mesothelioma, as dangerous as an enemy attack or any of the more obvious occupational consequences soldiers face. Yet, the consequences of asbestos exposure, leading to mesothelioma, are just as deadly for our surviving veterans.
The History of Asbestos Exposure in Iraq
The International Labour Organization (ILO), during the 1986 Asbestos Convention, created asbestos documentation ILO Convention No. 162 outlining proposals with the purpose of:
- Protection: protecting workers who may face exposure to asbestos, and other toxic substances.
- Safe working environments: creating safe working environments that eliminate the possibility of people eventually contracting deadly asbestos related diseases like mesothelioma.
Although asbestos consumption continues to decline in industrialized countries, the asbestos industry continues to push and sell asbestos to developing countries. The Middle East region has only two countries, Saudi Arabia in 2005 and Egypt in 1998, which have banned asbestos outright. Very little information is published about asbestos consumption in the Middle East but what is known is the fact that not one Middle Eastern country ratified ILO Convention No. 162.
In the last known statistics about the region’s asbestos consumption dating back to 2003:
- Iraq: accounted for $194,000 in asbestos imports.
- Middle East: the region accounted for more than $40 million in asbestos imports with Iran leading the way with $26 million in asbestos imports.
There are no known rules, guidelines, or adopted proposals for asbestos usage in Iraq. It is likely that asbestos is still imported to the country today. Information about the import and usage of asbestos remains very difficult to find and verify.
Iraq veterans May Be Exposed to Asbestos in Iraq
The controversial use of burn pits–a method of disposing of waste–in Iraq has been defended by the U.S. Defense Department as posing no long-term health risks or consequences. Veterans have stepped forward claiming that the burn pit pollutants released into the air and fine particle matter they inhaled in desert dust has led to a cadre of diseases including mesothelioma, emphysema, chronic cough, and sleep apnea.
Iraq War veteran legal rights
Unfortunately, Iraq veterans do not have the option of filing a lawsuit against the government for damages suffered during service in Iraq. Despite this fact, there is an opportunity to file an asbestos lawsuit against the company or companies that manufactured the asbestos products which caused eventual development of mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, or other asbestos related diseases.
Veterans of the Iraq War are entitled to take legal action and have a good chance of prevailing. Many thousands of lawsuits have been filed against asbestos companies for product liability compensation.
If you are an Iraq veteran and you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible to receive compensation. If you want to talk to an asbestos attorney about the nature of asbestos legal action, please contact us today.