For Marine Corps veterans who served between the 1930s and 70s there is a high risk for development of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related lung cancers. With asbestos-containing construction materials used in so many ships, sleeping barracks, vehicles and more, there was unlimited exposure during decades of active Marine Corps service.

The following Marine veterans may have had the greatest asbestos exposure during their active duty between the 30s and 70s: mechanics, pipe fitters, welders, insulation installers, roofers and floorers. Although those specific jobs created the highest mesothelioma risk, the use of asbestos-based construction materials in barracks, mess halls, all residential areas, common rooms, and sleeping quarters, placed basically all Marine veterans during that period at some exposure to asbestos.

U.S. Marines Exposed to Asbestos on Land and Sea

Considering the fact that Marines were deployed on naval ships they were often exposed to those dense levels of asbestos with which those vessels were built. In addition to the ships, airplanes and armored vehicles on which they traveled, Marines were often required to visit shipyards to work on reconstruction and asbestos removal from the ships.

Additionally, Marine asbestos exposed occurred during training, especially among thousands of recruits who trained on Parris Island. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARAA) was initiated in 2009 to fund Parris Island renovations through several construction companies, including removal of asbestos.

Marines who served between the 1930s and 1970s may have unknowingly been exposed to asbestos, and mesothelioma in the end. Because of this exposure and resulting risks, the VA offers benefits to help pay for treatment. Our legal team is here to assist veterans with VA benefits claims.

Amphibious Marine Corps missions, traveling by Navy warships with minimal ventilation and constructed with a wide variety of asbestos-containing products, exposed Marine veterans to nearly as much asbestos as Navy servicemen. Asbestos provided heat proofing and fire resistance in gaskets, boiler insulation materials, and pipe fittings, as well as many other locations on those ships. Asbestos was also a component in floor coverings and cement, both on land and at sea. Given the flexible and affordable qualities of asbestos it was used widely across all military vehicles and buildings throughout the 20th century.

Asbestos contamination was also found Marine Corps bases across the country including Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base and Barstow Marine Corps Logistics Base, and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. One fact contributing to danger today is the potential soil contamination from the asbestos in these locations, eventually polluting the local groundwater.

Asbestos Eventually Banned from Construction but Not Complete Resolution

Luckily, in the 1980s, asbestos health risks were recognized and its use was banned in military construction. However, many ships and military bases constructed before then remain in use today, keeping even some present day Marines at risk of asbestos exposure. Though it reduces annually with increased safety precautions, proof of mesothelioma and other illnesses from one-time or minimal asbestos exposure has been found.

Because of the latency period between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis reaching as much as 50 years, Marine veterans who served in Vietnam may still be at risk. For Marines who spent significant time at sea, the symptoms of mesothelioma should be known. The disease often starts off similar to the common cold or a chronic cough, including wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. Almost 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the U.S., with about one-third of lawsuits filed by veterans.

For veterans suffering from mesothelioma, as well as spouses and dependents, compensation for injury due to service is available from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Whether a question needs to be answered or assistance is needed in filing a VA claim, help from our legal team is always available.