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Asbestos Occupation Spotlight: U.S. Navy Veterans

More than 30 percent of Americans diagnosed with mesothelioma were navy_ship-200x300first exposed to asbestos during their time in the military. While veterans from all branches of the military were exposed to asbestos, Navy veterans account for an unusually high number of mesothelioma victims.

Nearly every ship and shipyard built by the U.S. Navy was constructed with asbestos materials. Asbestos was so common on navy ships and submarines because of its strength and heat-resistance properties – properties ideal for engine and boiler rooms that generate excessive amounts of heat.

There were many other parts of the ship where the insulation properties of asbestos were highly sought after including weapons rooms, mess halls and sleeping quarters. More than 300 asbestos products and materials were used in the United States military. Asbestos covered the pipes, pumps, and motors that helped run the ship. It was in the ceilings, walls, and floors. Asbestos was everywhere from bow to stern. Listed below are just a few of the asbestos products used on seagoing vessels:

  • Boiler insulation
  • Deck coverings
  • Cables
  • Grinders
  • Valves
  • Gaskets
  • Tubes
  • Pumps
  • Distillers
  • Cement
  • Rope
  • Fireproof doors and hatches
  • Adhesives
  • Packing material

Navy veterans who frequently came into contact with these materials during ship construction or routine maintenance could have been exposed to asbestos. Because below-deck areas have poor ventilation, Navy veterans working in these areas were at an especially high risk if asbestos fibers were disturbed and made airborne.

The Navy stopped producing ships ridden with asbestos in the early 1970s, but the vessels that already had asbestos still remained in use for many years after.

Given mesothelioma’s latency period of about 20 to 50 years, many Navy veterans are still being diagnosed with the horrible disease today. It is important for veterans to understand how they were exposed to asbestos during their service, so they can be prepared to take action now.

Simmons Hanly Conroy has been working with Navy veterans affected by mesothelioma for over a decade. We are familiar with the laws specific to military veterans, and we use our experience to fight for your rights. If you are a Navy veteran battling mesothelioma, please contact us today for a free case consultation.

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Mesothelioma Caregiver Tips for the New Year

January 2015 marks the beginning of a new year and a time to start fresh. Whether you believe in New Year’s Resolutions or not, this is the perfect time to set new goals that can improve yourself – mentally, emotionally and physically. For mesothelioma caregivers, this is especially important.

The mesothelioma lawyers at Simmons Hanly Conroy commend all mesothelioma caregivers for their dedication, support and selfless giving to loved ones with mesothelioma. There is no question that being a mesothelioma caregiver can be challenging, stressful and emotionally draining. It’s important to remember, however, that in order to provide the best care for your loved one, you must first take care of yourself.

If you’re a mesothelioma caregiver, consider taking these steps to get a jump start on 2015:

Short Term Tips

Research and choose a support group.

No one should have to deal with such challenging circumstances alone, but with the right support, you don’t have to. Depending on your location, there are a variety of support groups available that will allow you to connect with others going through similar situations. You may even be able to join an online support group. Your oncologist or mesothelioma lawyer may be able to provide recommendations, or the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has a great program called Meso-Connect.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

You are one person – can you do it all? You shouldn’t have to. Turn to others – whether they are friends, family, therapists, or doctors – when needed. Other outlets, like volunteer groups that provide meals, or community resources that provide respite care, are available too. They are here to help, and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. There is an online charitable program called Lotsa Helping Hands that provides online support to caregivers. They allow people who are caring for a loved one with an illness like mesothelioma to create an online private community to help with scheduling meals and care. Start your mesothelioma care community today.

Long Term Tips

Take care of yourself.

A support group can help emotionally, but what about your physical health? Are you getting enough sleep and time to de-stress? Remember: you can take better care of your loved one if you are physically well.

Here are some ideas: Schedule a certain amount of time each day, week or month that is solely yours. This can be 15 minutes to find a quiet place to read, or maybe a few hours to do something else you enjoy. Make an “appointment” with yourself and stick to it. Also, opt to make healthy, nutritious meals for yourself and your loved one. Nutritional needs are important and can help provide the energy you both need to get through the day.

Consider filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.

Some mesothelioma patients and caregivers put off the idea of filing a lawsuit because they think it will be more hassle than it’s worth. Fortunately with the right mesothelioma lawyer, this is not the case. For example, Simmons Hanly Conroy lawyers will meet with patients and their caregivers in their homes, making the lawsuit discussion and details convenient and stress-free. Additionally, our team will walk through the lawsuit process with you so you are aware of every step.

Mesothelioma lawsuits have the ability to drastically improve the life of yourself and your loved ones.* While no amount of compensation can buy you a medical miracle, a mesothelioma lawsuit can help ease the financial burden on your family. If you choose Simmons Hanly Conroy, there is absolutely no out-of-pocket expense to you or your family. . If you feel the time is right, contact our mesothelioma lawyers today.

*Please note that recovery results vary per client. The recovery amounts in each case reflect the specific facts of that case. Further, recovery amounts in past cases are not a guarantee of future results.

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Mesothelioma and Women: The Truth Behind Take-Home Exposure

Many asbestos occupations like auto mechanics, construction workers and oil refinery workers were made up of predominantly male employees. For this reason, a large portion of patients who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are often men. However, that trend is changing and the proportion of women who are diagnosed with mesothelioma is growing every day.

mesothelioma and womenYou may be wondering, how can this be? How are women being exposed to asbestos if they’re not working in the occupations that so often exposed individuals to the deadly toxin? Much of the answer lies in take-home exposure.

For instance, a person working in an asbestos occupation like factory work, auto repair or others may get asbestos dust on their clothing while on the job. When they go home, that asbestos dust could come off their clothing, go into the air and be inhaled by anyone in the home, including women and children. Several of our clients were exposed to asbestos because they shook the dust off their husband’s work clothes before putting them in the washing machine, linking mesothelioma and women. Inhalation of asbestos fibers is the direct cause of mesothelioma – a rare lung cancer with no cure.

“This type of diagnosis is devastating,” said Dr. Lee Krug, the deputy chief of Thoracic Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a mesothelioma specialist, in a NY Daily News article. “The key is really to encourage people’s awareness and encourage them to help support research. And hopefully we’ll find some better treatments.”

Mesothelioma and Women: The Risk

Even though the connection between mesothelioma and women is growing, there are things you can do to prevent the asbestos exposure that causes this rare lung disease. For instance, if a family member worked in an asbestos occupation, be on the lookout for any early warning signs of mesothelioma. Do not avoid seeing a doctor if you experience any of these mesothelioma symptoms.

Additionally, be careful when conducting any kind of building renovations. If you’re renovating your home and it is older than 30 years old, be aware that asbestos could be lurking in various building materials like floor tiles, decorative paint, insulation and drywall. Seek a certified asbestos professional if you think you might come in contact with the substance.

The best prevention method for mesothelioma is education. Be aware of the locations and products that may contain asbestos. And whatever you do, never disturb something that contains asbestos. Releasing the particles into the air is when the toxin poses the biggest health threat. It is not known how much asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, so remember: any level of exposure is considered dangerous.

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Famous Mesothelioma Deaths: Steve McQueen

McQueen’s History of Asbestos Exposure

Steve McQueen was the top paid actor in 1974. He was also a father and a husband with great love for his family. Best known for his acting in movies such as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Sand Pebbles, he also identified as a race car driver. Almost 34 years after his death on Nov. 7, 1980, cases of mesothelioma still run rampant.

asbestos exposure

Steve was exposed to asbestos all throughout his life—construction sites, sound stages, the lining of race car breaks, and so on. His most potent exposure to asbestos, though, occurred in his time with the U.S. Marines when he was required to remove asbestos lagging from pipes. Steve himself is quoted saying that the asbestos was so thick in the air he could barely breathe. Some say that Steve McQueen lived the American dream, transcending underprivileged origins and rising to fame and success. But, it was during his time doing blue collar work and serving his country when he was most subjected to the asbestos that would kill him.

The Mesothelioma Diagnosis & Death

When Steve was diagnosed in 1979 he was given no hope. He was assured by doctors that his ailment was incurable and essentially untreatable. In fact, his then-girlfriend Barbara Minty was not even informed by doctors that pleural mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos.

“The doctors in LA basically told us to enjoy the time we had left,” she said in an interview conducted 26 years after Steve passed. “I don’t remember exactly what they said about options. All I recall is that the doctors said surgery was out of the question and chemo didn’t really work. It was a rare cancer and all their patients had died.”

The couple refused to let the diagnosis rule their lives, though, and was married after his terminal diagnosis. In the months following, Steve went to Mexico. Motivated by his lack of options in the United States, he sought non-traditional treatment during his first visit and went into surgery for inoperable abdominal tumors during his second visit. It was in the hours after this surgery that he passed away from cardiac arrest.

The true tragedy of Steve’s story and every other story of mesothelioma deaths is that their deaths were preventable. The dangers of asbestos exposure were known as early as the 1930s, yet companies continued using asbestos-containing products without any warnings at the cost of thousands of lives.

Sadly, even today, approximately 3,000 people in the United States are annually diagnosed with mesothelioma. Many of whom were never warned about the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Barbara Minty McQueen, in memory of Steve, works with the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, a non-profit organization focused on preventing asbestos-caused diseases through national and international education, advocacy and community initiatives. In July 2014, Barbara traveled to Washington, D.C., and spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives on the importance of banning the use of asbestos in America.

Families who have been impacted by mesothelioma deaths can also hold the companies responsible for their loved one’s asbestos exposure accountable through the civil litigation system by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. Simmons Hanly Conroy has over 40 mesothelioma lawyers who have helped thousands of people and their families from around the country secure justice against the companies who harmed them.

If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma, click here to learn more about how we can help mesothelioma patients and their families.

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Thirty Percent of All Mesothelioma Cases are Veterans

When mesothelioma patients turn to Simmons Hanly Conroy for the justice they deserve, many of them are U.S. veterans. In fact, more than 30 percent of Americans who are afflicted with mesothelioma were first exposed to asbestos during their time in the military. Veterans from all military branches – Navy and Army to the Air Force and Marines – often came into contact with asbestos-containing materials.

flagUp until the mid-1970s, nearly every ship and shipyard built by the United States Navy was constructed with asbestos materials. It was primarily used in engine rooms, boiler rooms and other below-deck areas of seagoing vessels and submarines. The asbestos was most dangerous when it was disturbed and made airborne, at which time it could be inhaled. This put Navy members at great risk due to the poor ventilation in below-deck areas. Because of the latency period of mesothelioma of in excess of 20 years, many of today’s Navy and Marine Corps veterans are still being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

Other military service members also came into contact with asbestos. Many of them handled, worked with or disturbed asbestos-containing materials and, as a result, were exposed to asbestos. Those affected include military construction personnel, boiler tenders, and demolition specialists who served prior to the mid-1990s. More than 300 asbestos products were used in the U.S. military.

Currently, there are more than 20 million living U.S. veterans. It stands to reason that mesothelioma will claim the lives of many more of the brave men and women who have served. While we specifically recognize these individuals on Veterans Day, we remember them every day for their service and dedication to our country and for the price many of them are now paying because of that service.

Veterans who were exposed to asbestos may now be facing a disease with no cure. The mesothelioma lawyers of Simmons Hanly Conroy stand behind all U.S. veterans and are dedicated to helping them get the justice they deserve.

Simmons Hanly Conroy attorneys who have served, including myself, John Simmons, Mike Stewart and Brian Cooke , understand the importance of Veterans Day and taking the time to recognize the sacrifices made by our military. Don’t forget to thank the veterans in your life, and, from all of us here at Simmons Hanly Conroy, Happy Veterans Day.

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