Asbestos Exposure Among Navy Veterans
Navy veterans still are paying the price today. The Navy finally stopped filling ships with asbestos in the early ’70s, but those vessels remained in use for many years after production stopped.
Prior to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulating the use of asbestos, shipbuilders were using it in hundreds of applications. Engine rooms, boiler rooms, weapons and ammunition storage rooms – anywhere that needed heat resistance – all had the mineral. It was in the mess halls, the sleeping quarters and navigation rooms, too. Products like cables, gaskets, and valves had asbestos. It covered the pipes, pumps, motors, condensers, and compressors that helped run a ship. It was in the wall insulation and the floors.
The construction, demolition, repair or renovation of ships – or naval buildings on land – exposed Navy personnel to the microscopic asbestos fibers. As ships aged, asbestos became brittle. Any disturbance, especially in the close quarters of ships and submarines, would make the fibers airborne.
QUICK FACTNo fewer than 20 Navy ratings are considered at-risk for asbestos exposure. Boilermakers, boiler tenders, and boiler technicians were three of the highest risk ratings.
Sailors aboard warships often slept in bunks that were below asbestos-covered pipes, forcing them to shake off the dusty material on a regular basis. The Marines that often were transported on the same ships were exposed, too. Personnel who worked below deck on ships were at the highest risk because of where the most heat-resistant asbestos was used, nearest the engine and boiler rooms.
Mesothelioma Navy VeteransHave you come across the term "Navy Mesothelioma"? Mesothelioma is a tumor that is caused due to extensive exposure to asbestos. Since such extensive exposure to asbestos is common with people who are working with asbestos, it is common to see people with mesothelioma in workers like electricians, insulators, fireproofing, roofing, plumbing, etc. Also, asbestos was used extensively in defense applications making defense personnel vulnerable to the condition. So, navy mesothelioma has become a term coined to indicate the high incidence of mesothelioma among navy personnel.
Asbestos, due to its sturdy nature and its fire resistant properties was regularly and heavily used in ships and in shipyards making navy personnel get a high exposure to asbestos. The poor ventilation in ships added to the increased contribution to causing a high incidence of mesothelioma among navy personnel and in close members of their families.
Mesothelioma is a highly debilitating and deadly disease that occurs a long time after asbestos exposure. It takes about almost 20 years or so for the symptoms to occur initially and might take a few more decades to become full blown. By the time the symptoms progress and the disease can be diagnosed, there is usually not much that can be done to prevent further progress of the condition and will eventually lead to death.
Navy mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose as the condition. The exposure to asbestos is one thing in the previous history that will usually help point in the right direction. Navy mesothelioma is often diagnosed using the present signs and symptoms that are seen and with observing the CT scan findings.
The treatment options for mesothelioma is often limited and is also dependent on the extent of the condition, the age of the person and his general health condition. Radiation therapy is a treatment option wherein high energy radiation (x-rays) are used to try and regress the tumor and kill the cancerous cells. Another treatment option is to give chemotherapy wherein a drug combination is used to treat the navy mesothelioma and to prevent further spread of the condition.
People suffering from mesothelioma are also resorting to taking legal action by suing companies that have been manufacturing asbestos and resorting to their use without warning the public about the hazards of its use. But, people with navy mesothelioma are in a fix as they have limited abilities to seek legal action. However, they too are now getting legal help and getting benefits that will help them in getting proper treatment for this debilitating condition that has no total cure.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3302185, https://www.asbestos.com/navy/