12 February 2009

Mesothelioma and Veterans

Anyone who is paying attention knows that I am a retired Sailor.

Also, anyone who has been paying attention knows that I served on USS Forrestal (CV-59), the first US carrier specifically built to handle jet aircraft.

Forrestal is undergoing decontamination work in preparation to become an artificial reef. One of the things that has to come out of the ship before that can happen is asbestos. Lots and lots of asbestos.

Asbestos was widely used on Naval ships for steam piping and boilers until the health risks were fully understood, and from then on there was a big push to remove the asbestos. The problem was that the removal process was often more hazardous than leaving the asbestos sealed in place.

As a result there were still many Navy ships that had asbestos, right up to the present day. As these ships are being decommissioned and scrapped, the asbestos has to be removed. This presents a hazard for the decommissioning units and for the shipyard workers involved in the scrapping and decontamination processes.

Asbestos causes a type of cancer called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma attacks the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen. According to Allen Dutton, former bubblehead (submarine Sailor), retired LCDR (that's O-4 for my non navspeak readers), and current Veterans Benefit Counselor for the Mesothelioma Cancer Center, the VA does not always recognize asbestos related deseases.

That is why he has asked for the help of veteran bloggers. While my blog is not exclusively military, I will certainly do anything I can to help my former shipmates that may be suffering from these terrible deseases.

I have accordingly agreed to put the link on the sidebar, you can find it under the Mesothelioma and Veterans tag. If you are a veteran, or if you are a family member of a veteran, who is suffering from an asbestos related illness and needs help negotiating the VA process, visit the website.

UPDATE: BoBo and 454Monte are helping to get the word out.


Anniee451 said...

Gah - my husband works with far too much asbestos for my liking, too. God bless you, and thank you for posting this.

Larry said...

The only reason I agreed to post the link was that it was for the medical end of the problem, not the legal end. There are far too many ambulance chasers looking for a payoff, often at the expense of the victims. Hopefully this link will help someone who is looking for treatment options.

Anonymous said...

Larry - I'll make it a point to post something up on this next week. I have access to a lot of research on mesothelioma and asbestos. I'll point to the studies and I'll see what I can find specifically regarding service members.

Larry said...

Thanks BoBo, I appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

I'm putting something up as well Larry.

I had an email come in from another agency and I put up their information here http://454monte.com/sandbox/?p=1023
I put a link up to this post as well.


Larry said...

Thanks mate. We'll get the word out.