Guest Article

Tim Elliot sent this little article. I’ve not verified it’s contents and will not be held liable, blah, blah, blah. Here it is:

The Strange and Dangerous Battle Against Mesothelioma

It seems strange and outrageous now, but at one time the military used asbestos in over 300 products ranging from electrical insulation to cloth. As a result today over 30% of all patients diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, stomach, and heart caused by asbestos exposure, are veterans. Although the military had issued warnings about the dangers associated with using asbestos as far back as the early 1920’s, in 1939 the Navy mandated that all new ships must be built using asbestos. The military’s use of asbestos, in fact, peaked in the 1960’s.  At that time although there were health concerns about the dangers of prolonged asbestos exposure, it was not known to be directly linked to mesothelioma. The VA is already struggling to take care of the growing numbers of veterans with mesothelioma and because mesothelioma usually lays dormant for 20-50 years even though the military stopped using asbestos in the 1970’s diagnoses in veterans are expected to rise for the next 5-10 years.  Furthermore, although the military discontinued using asbestos in the 1970’s several military bases were so infested with asbestos that as late as the early 1990’s the EPA was forced to declare them Superfund sites because of the health dangers.  In fact as recently as 2008, Fort Braggs was found to have dangerous levels of asbestos in the barracks. As such, it’s likely that there are thousands of veterans who have yet to be diagnosed with mesothelioma, likely even some who are already showing some of the symptoms of mesothelioma. Worst of all, because it commonly goes undiagnosed until it has metastasized and spread throughout the entire body themesothelioma life expectancy is only between a year and two years after diagnosis.  If mesothelioma is detected early enough, surgery to remove the tumor is an option. Knowing that there are thousands of service men and women who have been exposed to asbestos and may develop mesothelioma, the military needs to make a concerted effort to make sure that veterans are well aware of the danger. More information about mesothelioma is available athttp://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/occupational_environmental/asbestos.asp andhttp://www.mesotheliomasymptoms.com.  
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