Air Force Asbestos Injuries at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio, used large amounts of asbestos in aircraft, vehicles and on-site buildings. Consequently, veterans and former civilian employees could risk developing serious diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Asbestos was a valuable tool for the military because of its heat resistance and fire-proofing capabilities, and all branches of the military used the material up until the 1970s. However, asbestos fibers, when loose and inhaled, put veterans at risk.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), several million Americans who served in the military were exposed to asbestos during their service. Now, veterans account for almost a third of all mesothelioma cases in the U.S.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio personal injury lawyer representing veterans nationwide in a wide variety of toxic tort and mesothelioma claims.
Wright-Patterson Asbestos Exposure
There are over 20 million veterans in the U.S., and most of them were exposed to asbestos at some point during their military service. A large portion of those heavily exposed will eventually be diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.
According to data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, Ohio ranks fifth in the nation in the mortality rate for mesothelioma.
The Air Force Command acknowledged an asbestos hazard in August 1986 when they adopted the Asbestos GRADE system to prioritize Air Force asbestos abatement in bases and buildings.
Air Force Asbestos Lawsuits
U.S. Air Force veterans were often exposed to asbestos in Wright-Patterson buildings and aircraft, putting them at risk for developing mesothelioma and other deadly diseases. Welders, electricians and mechanics were among the occupations with the highest risk of exposure.
Asbestos materials were commonly used to build aircraft, and mechanics were exposed to asbestos concealed in body fillers, brake pads, clutches, bearings, seals and gaskets. Vehicle and aircraft mechanics could have been exposed to Air Force asbestos while performing routine maintenance.
Aircraft components like engines, cockpit heating systems, wiring, turbines, heat shields and insulation in cargo bays all contained asbestos. Aircraft mechanics were also exposed to asbestos while working on rotors, fuel and hydraulic systems.
Military Exposure & Mesothelioma
Servicemen were often exposed to asbestos fibers while performing normal work duties. In turn, breathing the dust increased the risk of serious lung diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma later in life.
According to the VA, some of the highest Air Force asbestos exposure risk jobs included:
- Fire control technician
- Machinery maintenance
- Vehicle mechanic
- Aircraft mechanic
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Risk
A study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) shows that efforts to minimize occupational exposure to asbestos fibers have not prevented asbestos related diseases developing in the younger generation.
Although the use of asbestos in new construction and use of asbestos-containing products was stopped many years ago, the toxic fibers remain decades later. Symptoms of asbestos-related disease often do not appear until decades after exposure, and many veterans may still develop a serious condition like mesothelioma.
Cases may continue to surface for years to come. Construction, demolition and asbestos abatement are regularly occurring at older military posts like Wright-Patterson. As late as 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report regarding the presence of asbestos in former Air Force facilities. The report found asbestos in floor tile and vinyl flooring, pipe insulation, asbestos cement, ceiling tiles, roofing and drywall.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms mirror those of less serious illnesses. However, early warning signs may include the following;
- Excessive sweating
- High fever
- Trouble swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent cough
- Lumps on chest or abdomen
Other Ohio Military Sites with Known Asbestos
- Wilkins Air Force Base—Shelby, Ohio
- Parsel Army Air Forces Supply Depot—Shelby, Ohio
Air Force Asbestos Exposure Settlement
Even if the federal government refuses to be held responsible for asbestos-related damage, veterans who served at Wright-Patterson can still seek compensation from the manufacturers of the products that were supplied to the military. The high medical costs of asbestos-related cancers have led many veterans and their families to file claims against asbestos manufacturers. Experienced attorneys in Ohio can help manage these claims and secure compensation through lawsuits, settlements and bankruptcy trusts.
The courts have largely agreed that the government and asbestos manufacturers have a responsibility to provide America’s military with safe products and working environments. When they fail to protect our servicemen, they should compensate veterans and families for the damage they have caused. Please do not hesitate to seek medical and legal assistance.
If you or a loved one suffered an asbestos-related illness after working at Wright-Patterson or another military installation, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding Air Force asbestos exposure.