Asbestos Exposure & Navy Veterans
For most of the 20th century, the U.S. Navy used products containing asbestos to build ships, bases, vehicles, and other assets.
As a result, Navy service members who built or repaired these military assets or served on them were likely exposed to asbestos, a cancer-causing mineral.
Asbestos-related diseases take 10-50 years to develop, so many Navy veterans are just now being diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other illnesses.
About 1 in 3 mesothelioma cases have been linked to asbestos exposure in U.S. Navy shipyards or ships.
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma from asbestos exposure during your time of military service, we may be able to help.
Asbestos in the Navy
Like other U.S. military branches, the Navy used asbestos products to build barracks, ships, and various vehicles.
Learn more about how asbestos products were used to construct these military assets and the risk they posed to Navy personnel.
Navy shipyards where naval vessels were built and repaired were riddled with asbestos dust, potentially exposing shipyard workers and others on site. A report by The New York Times noted that asbestos dust in World War II shipyards was so dense that workers “often could not see across a room.”
Once the ships were commissioned for service, sailors and other crew members were at risk of asbestos exposure. A vessel’s cramped quarters and poor ventilation increased the risk to those onboard.
Every kind of U.S. Navy ship contained asbestos products, including:
- Aircraft carriers
- Amphibious warfare ships
- Auxiliary ships
- Hospital ships
- Patrol boats
While asbestos-containing products could be found in almost every area of a Navy ship, some areas contained more asbestos than others, placing military veterans at greater risk of mesothelioma.
High-risk areas included:
- Boiler room
- Damage control room
- Engine room
- Pump room
- Propulsion room
Due to asbestos’ ability to resist high temperatures, Navy bases were often built using asbestos-containing fireproofing and asbestos products like pipes, roofing materials, and floor tiles.
Some U.S. Navy bases that used asbestos include:
- Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina
- Naval Air Station Alameda, California
- Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida
- Naval Air Station Glynco, Georgia
- Naval Air Station Lemoore, California
- Naval Amphibious Base, Virginia
Veterans who built structures on these and other Navy bases or lived or worked on base when asbestos use was widespread have a high risk of asbestos exposure.
Navy Vehicles & Aircraft
Many Navy vehicles and aircraft contained asbestos parts, including brake shoes, valves, gaskets, hood liners, and more.
Examples of Navy vehicles that contained asbestos parts include:
- Armored cars
- Duck boats
- Fighter planes
- Patrol vehicles
- Tactical trucks
- Utility vehicles
Jobs at High Risk for Navy Asbestos Exposure
Everyone who lived or worked on a U.S. Navy base was at risk of asbestos exposure. However, some workers had a higher risk of asbestos exposure than others.
The chart below shows some of these high-risk jobs and the specific asbestos products that veterans in these roles likely came in contact with.
|Navy job||Asbestos products handled|
|Boiler technicians||boilers, boiler tank insulation wraps, pipe insulation wraps, gaskets, valves, safety gloves
|Construction workers||drywall, insulation, paint, tiles, flooring, piping, roofing materials
|Electricians||cables, electric wiring
|Machinist's mates||pumps, gaskets, and valves
|Pipefitters and plumbers||pipe, pipe insulation, joint compound
|Shipbuilders and shipyard workers||insulation, paint, panels
|Welders||protective gear, welding blankets
If you served your country by working a high-risk Navy job and now have mesothelioma, you may be eligible for VA benefits, health care, and legal compensation.
Our legal partners have recovered more than $9.4 billion for mesothelioma Navy veterans and other victims affected by asbestos-related diseases across the country.
See if they can help you — get a free case review now.
Navy Families & Secondhand Asbestos Exposure
Sadly, Navy veterans are not the only ones at risk for asbestos exposure.
Veterans may have brought home asbestos dust on their clothes or hair, inadvertently placing their loved ones in danger. For example, spouses may have inhaled the asbestos fibers as they did laundry or hugged the service member after a hard day’s work.
This is known as secondhand asbestos exposure.
Family members may have also been exposed to the cancer-causing substance if they lived on base. Potential sources of asbestos exposure include Navy housing, construction sites, office buildings, and other areas on base.
Benefits & Compensation for Navy Veterans With Mesothelioma
Navy veterans facing a mesothelioma diagnosis may be entitled to benefits and health care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). They may also be able to pursue compensation from asbestos trust fund claims and lawsuits against the asbestos product manufacturers that made them sick.
Learn more about these options below.
Mesothelioma Navy Veterans Benefits
Navy veterans with mesothelioma related to their service may be eligible for health care and VA benefits.
To qualify, you must have been exposed to asbestos while you served, honorably discharged from the Navy, and diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness.
These benefits include:
- Disability compensation: As of October 2023, veterans with mesothelioma can get nearly $4,000 per month in disability compensation if they are married.
- VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC): Spouses and dependents of veterans who passed away from mesothelioma may be entitled to monthly VA DIC payments.
- VA health care: Mesothelioma Navy veterans may be eligible for VA health care benefits. Some of the best mesothelioma specialists in the world work at VA health care centers.
- Other VA benefits: Veterans and their spouses often qualify for other benefits like pensions and compensation for funeral costs.
LawFirm.com can help you or a loved one apply for all the mesothelioma Navy veterans benefits you qualify for. Call (888) 726-9160 now to speak to a member of our team for free.
Legal Claims for Mesothelioma Navy Veterans
In addition to filing for VA benefits, Navy veterans with mesothelioma may be able to pursue financial compensation by filing a legal claim with the help of a mesothelioma lawyer.
The two main types of legal claims filed by mesothelioma Navy veterans are asbestos trust fund claims and lawsuits against asbestos product manufacturers. Successful mesothelioma claims can help veterans afford life-extending treatments and take care of their families.
Learn more about these two legal options below.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Companies that made products containing asbestos were ordered to set up asbestos trust funds to compensate people harmed by their products.
Today, there are over 60 active asbestos trust funds containing more than $30 billion in total.
In many cases, mesothelioma Navy veterans can file multiple asbestos trust fund claims, increasing the amount of trust fund money they may receive.
Asbestos trust fund claims are one way of pursuing mesothelioma compensation without going to court. They also provide veterans with quick access to money — in as little as 90 days in many cases.
Mesothelioma Navy veterans and their family members may also be able to file mesothelioma lawsuits with the help of an experienced lawyer.
Mesothelioma lawsuits are filed against the companies that made, sold, and distributed asbestos products, putting millions of Americans in harm’s way. They are never filed against the U.S. Navy or government.
These lawsuits are usually resolved by out-of-court mesothelioma settlements. A Navy asbestos settlement awards between $1 million to $1.4 million on average.
If a mesothelioma Navy veteran passes away, their loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek justice on their behalf.
Asbestos lawsuits do not affect a veteran’s ability to collect VA benefits.
Some mesothelioma Navy settlements include:
- $40 million for a U.S. Navy veteran with pleural mesothelioma
- $10.2 million to a U.S. Navy veteran and boiler tender
- $9.9 million for a boiler tender in the U.S. Navy
- $9.3 million for a U.S. Navy veteran from Massachusetts
- $5.5 million to a mechanic and U.S. Navy veteran
- $3.5 million for a U.S. Navy pipefitter and insulator
- $2 million to an officer in the U.S. Navy from Maine
Get Help Filing for VA Benefits & Mesothelioma Navy Compensation
The brave Navy sailors and service members who proudly served their country and put their lives on the line should have been protected from asbestos — not put in harm’s way.
If you or a loved one is a Navy veteran with mesothelioma, LawFirm.com is here to help. Our team can help you file for VA benefits and pursue other types of financial compensation.
The mesothelioma lawyers we work with never charge any fees in advance, and they can help veterans in every state.
Mesothelioma and the Navy FAQs
Are Navy veterans exposed to asbestos?
Yes, U.S. Navy veterans who served before the 1980s — when asbestos products were widely used on ships, bases, and other assets — were likely exposed to asbestos.
However, the Navy has since stopped using asbestos products to build new ships and has removed or sealed existing asbestos.
Is mesothelioma a VA disability?
Yes. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs gives a 100% disability rating to mesothelioma. As such, veterans with this cancer are eligible for a monthly payment of more than $3,600, and this amount may be higher if they are married or have dependents.
Does the U.S. Navy still use asbestos?
The Navy stopped using asbestos-containing materials to build ships and other assets in the early 1980s after the health risks of the deadly mineral became public knowledge.
Although older Navy vessels may still contain asbestos, the Navy has either removed it or sealed it so it cannot harm sailors or other Navy personnel onboard.
How much does a Navy veteran get for mesothelioma?
How much compensation a U.S. Navy veteran receives for mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure during their time of service depends on many factors, like their age or the type of claim they file.
Mesothelioma lawsuits typically settle for more than $1 million. Mesothelioma trust funds pay out $41,000 on average, and most mesothelioma Navy veterans qualify to file claims with multiple funds.
Currently, veterans with mesothelioma qualify for nearly $4,000 per month in VA disability benefits if they have a spouse.
A mesothelioma lawyer can determine which type of compensation you may be owed and file claims on your behalf.