Asbestos is a stable, resilient mineral widely used in a number of industries due to its resistance to heat, chemicals and electrical currents. While asbestos can be effective in various applications and processes, it can also be highly toxic, causing those who are exposed to it to develop mesothelioma and other cancers.
The level of asbestos exposure a person experiences will depend on his/her home and work environments. Among the many industrial arenas notorious for exposing workers to asbestos (including the construction and shipbuilding industries) is the U.S. Air Force.
How Asbestos Cancer Occurs for Air Force Members
Asbestos exposure can be either:
- active, meaning that asbestos exposure occurs as people work directly with asbestos particles; or
- passive, meaning that asbestos exposure occurs as people work with tools or equipment (or in environments) that contain asbestos
While active asbestos exposure takes place when members of the Air Force directly handle asbestos particles, passive asbestos exposure can occur as workers come into contact with or work in or around:
- boiler rooms and incinerators
- brake linings and pads
- certain types of spray coatings and sealants
- concrete (particularly concrete foundations)
- fire retardant clothes, blankets and other equipment
- floor and ceiling tiles
- insulation for both buildings and piping
- large machinery used to build and fix planes
- plane engines (particularly the gaskets used in them)
- roofing shingles (such as those used to construct Air Force housing)
Keep in mind that Air Force members regularly exposed to asbestos particles can carry these toxic fibers home with them on their bodies and/or clothes, thereby unintentionally exposing their families and loved ones to asbestos cancer.
It’s also important to note that, while asbestos safety regulations are currently in place to protect Air Force members, many current Air Force vets worked for decades without such safety mesothelioma guidelines to minimize their asbestos exposure. For these Air Force vets, the effects of prolonged asbestos exposure have already caused significant health problems.
Facts About Asbestos in the Air Force
- The Air Force was established in September 1947.
- The Air Force, in addition to its active duty members, also includes those in the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.
- In total, the Air Force owns over 5,500 manned aircraft and over 150 unmanned aircraft.
- As of fall 2007, the Air Force had near 330,000 active duty members and about 200,000 reserve members.
- Budget cuts have forced an ongoing reduction of the size of the Air Force.
Asbestos Cancer Health Effects
Tragically, the long-term asbestos exposure associated with working in the Air Force can cause a number of serious health problems including:
- asbestosis (a non-cancerous condition in which scar tissue in the lungs inhibits breathing and oxygen absorption)
- esophageal cancer
- lung cancer
- mesothelioma cancer
- other forms of cancer
Early diagnosis and mesothelioma treatment of these asbestos-related conditions are essential for the best outcomes. However, all are incurable, and most tend to only be diagnosed after they have progressed to later, less treatable stages.
If you served in the Air Force and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you have certain rights and legal options. Contact mesothelioma treatment centers today to learn more.