Asbestos exposure is a concern for veterans even today

Asbestos use was prevalent in the U.S. armed forces during the 20th century, as the WWII war effort demanded accessible materials for producing military equipment quickly and in large amounts. It made exposure to this toxic material an ongoing worry for all veterans, including those among Culver City's veteran population. The Navy exploited asbestos the most, putting naval personnel at an outstandingly high risk of asbestos exposure. Even so, this doesn't exclude other military bases from being a potential source of asbestos contamination. It raises health concerns for veterans of California's 32 bases military bases, as asbestos exposure could be behind veterans' slowly deteriorating health.

Asbestos can float in the air for hours due to the structure and size of its fibers. The microscopic particles are easily inhaled or ingested, making asbestos dust one of the most toxic substances. Once inside the body, these tiny sharp threads cause permanent damage to major organs and lead to devastating diseases. Even if veterans may have had no health issues during their service, they learn the effects of asbestos exposure only over time when they are diagnosed with conditions stemming from it, like asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other severe respiratory diseases. It's the moment their continuous fight for health and well-being begins. Many must come to terms with the reality that their asbestos diseases will shorten their life. With the knowledge that timely detection considerably improves treatment results, veterans should proactively protect their health through:

• Periodic health check-ups: The inhaled asbestos fibers injure the lungs first, so veterans should request chest X-rays or CT scans and pulmonary function tests (also known as the breathing test).

• Learning their legal rights: Legal avenues and compensation programs are available to help vets harmed by asbestos exposure through asbestos trust funds and Veterans Affairs.

• Promote awareness: Veterans can play a significant role in raising awareness and educating by sharing their knowledge and experiences about asbestos exposure with their communities.

Besides expressing our gratitude to veterans, we citizens also have a responsibility to help protect their well-being. By shedding light on the dangers of asbestos exposure, we can ensure that those who served receive the care and support they rightly deserve.

Cristina Johnson

About the author:

Cristina Johnson is a Navy veteran advocate for Asbestos Ships Organization, a nonprofit whose primary mission is to raise awareness and educate veterans about the dangers of asbestos exposure on Navy ships and assist them in navigating the VA claims process. For more information, please visit our page.


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