Asbestos Exposure in the Military
Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma and asbestos was used widely in the U.S. Military during both peacetime and wartime, mainly from the 1930s to the 1970s when the dangers of asbestos were not as known as they are now.
Asbestos was used in all military areas, with the highest concentration occurring on navy ships. Asbestos was cost-effective and was used because it was considered an excellent insulator and it significantly reduced the probability of fires occurring on navy ships.
During its initial use, the deadly effects were not widely known, and military personnel was exposed to asbestos on a daily basis, night and day. Engine and boiler rooms on ships held the most asbestos, but even the mess deck and sleeping quarters contained asbestos.
At times, individuals were exposed to asbestos so extensively they could see the asbestos fibers flying off of their clothing when they shook them out at the end of the day. However, personnel was also exposed without even being able to see or smell the fibers. Mainly, they had no idea they were being exposed to something that would come back to haunt them decades later.
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