Vietnam veterans who served from 1964 through 1973 are at great risk for contracting mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos that was prominently used in ships, transport vehicles, garage repair shops and building construction materials. Although the dangers of asbestos were widely known at the time, the asbestos industry ignored the health consequences and continued to produce asbestos products. Tens of thousands of asbestos containing products were utilized due to their insulation properties and the fact that the mineral is virtually impervious to fire. Asbestos was so useful in situations of high heat and flame that asbestos fibers were woven into fire protective aprons, gloves and clothing for workers.
Vietnam Navy veteran asbestos exposure
In Vietnam, veterans were exposed to asbestos, and the possibility of developing mesothelioma, in a number of ways. The group most at risk in the Vietnam War may have been Navy veterans. Nearly every ship commissioned between 1930 and 1970 contained multiple tons of asbestos insulation in engine rooms, through miles of piping aboard ship, and in the doors and walls as fireproofing measures. Even after asbestos was eliminated in a 1975 policy to end the use of asbestos and materials containing asbestos, asbestos use was continued as a thermal insulation material for other Navy applications during the Vietnam War. Asbestos fibers were incorporated in:
- the plastic-like body of certain electrical resistors found in Navy electronic equipment
- tiles on Navy ship decks
- electrical cabling in Navy galley ranges
- piping system gaskets and packing
Vietnam veteran asbestos exposure for other branches of service
Active members of the other branches of service in Vietnam–Marines, Army, and Air Force–also were in conditions with a high likelihood of exposure to asbestos. These veterans, like their Navy counterparts who are susceptible to developing mesothelioma, worked in repair shops, manned and rode in transports by land, air and sea, and lived in structures containing asbestos. Veterans of the Vietnam War were exposed to asbestos fibers through close proximity to:
- ceiling tiles
- flooring and flooring tiles
- asbestos cement used for foundations
- wall insulation
- vehicle brakes, gaskets, and insulation
- base operations facilities
Vietnam veteran legal rights
Vietnam veterans do not have the option of filing a lawsuit against the government for damages suffered during service in the Vietnam. Yet, there is an opportunity to file an asbestos lawsuit against the company or companies that manufactured the asbestos products which caused eventual development of asbestosis, asbestos lung cancer or mesothelioma.
Vietnam veterans 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 a Vietnam veteran, or the loved one of a Vietnam 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.