So You Think You Know About Asbestos?

For many people, the extent of their knowledge about asbestos is that it is a dangerous substance that should be avoided at all costs. But there is more to the checkered history of asbestos than this one fact, important though it is.

Asbestos use can be dated to as early as 5,000 B.C., and there is evidence that its health effects first began to be known in 100 A.D. Roman historian and naturalist “Pliny the Elder” noted its harmful effects on the lungs of slaves that worked in asbestos mines.

Fast-forward to the 19th century, and you have asbestos mines operating in Europe, Canada, and the United States. Manufacturers couldn’t get enough of this “miracle mineral,” as it was known. The durability and flame resistance of asbestos made it a sought-after ingredient in many types of everyday household products, as well as in automotive and construction materials. In the 20th century asbestos use ramped up in a big way during the post-WWII building boom, with U.S. consumption of asbestos reaching a peak of 719,000 tons in 1973.

But in the early 1970s there began to be a steady drumbeat of warning about the health hazards of asbestos. WWII veterans were starting to show an alarming rate of asbestos-related disease including mesothelioma, a rare cancer that affects the linings of the chest and abdomen. Approximately one third of mesothelioma cases have been shown to involve U.S. Navy or shipyard exposure. Mesothelioma is caused only by exposure to asbestos.

Despite everything we know about the dangers of asbestos exposure, news stories continue to report asbestos violations occurring throughout the United States. More than 3,000 people will be diagnosed with mesothelioma this year alone.

History has taught us what we need to know about this deadly mineral, but it is up to us to apply that knowledge. Educate yourself about asbestos. Learn all that you can to ensure you and your loved ones stay safe. Start by taking our short quiz to learn more about the history of asbestos. Some of the answers may surprise you.


On Veterans Day, Remember Those Injured by Asbestos Exposure

Veterans Day is November 11th. As we stop to honor the veterans and active service members who have so bravely protected our nation, it’s important to remember that not every danger they faced was found on the battlefield.

Many of our veterans have been gravely injured by exposure to asbestos while serving our country.

Most people now know that asbestos is dangerous to human health. Asbestos is linked to serious diseases such as mesothelioma, a virulent cancer. But before the 1970s, this “miracle mineral” was thought to be safe and was valued for its strength, versatility, and fire resistance. It was commonly used in thousands of industrial and consumer products even though many manufacturers knew of its dangers.

Numerous asbestos-containing products were used by the U.S. military. So any veteran who served in the middle of the 20th century could have been exposed to hazardous asbestos.

In the U.S Navy, asbestos was used in shipyards and ships that were built before the mid-1970s. Asbestos-containing materials could be found in engine rooms and throughout ships where it was used to cover pipes, boilers, gaskets, turbines and pumps. The sailors who operated these ships as well as the shipyard workers who repaired them were at great risk of asbestos exposure.

Personnel in other branches of the armed forces were also at risk of exposure. Asbestos was routinely used in planes, in machinery and vehicles, in military housing and administrative buildings – even in gas masks.

Symptoms of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases can take decades to show up after exposure, so veterans who retired from active duty years ago are only now being diagnosed.

Mesothelioma causes malignant cancer cells to form in the lining that covers the lungs, abdomen, or heart. The most common symptoms of mesothelioma are:

• Shortness of breath

• Persistent cough

• Chest pain

• Wheezing

• Hoarseness

• Pleural effusion (fluid surrounding the lung)

• Ascites (abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen

• Pain in lower back

• Abdominal swelling

• Mass in the abdomen

• Bowel obstruction

• Fatigue

• Anemia

• Chills and fever

• Decreased appetite, weight loss

Contact your doctor if you have any of these symptoms and believe you were exposed to asbestos during your military service.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there may be legal action you can take against the manufacturers whose asbestos-containing products caused your illness. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free consultation.


Thinking of Naval Heroes Harmed by Asbestos

This weekend will see cake-cutting, parties, and other festivities as the U.S. Navy’s official birthday bash – celebrating 238 years of courage and commitment by the nation’s naval force – gets underway.

Even the ongoing shutdown of the federal government won’t spoil the many activities planned to commemorate the Navy Birthday, including a grand ball put on by the Navy League in Washington, D.C.

The Navy Birthday celebration honors the sailors who “stand the watch” to defend our nation at sea. It also showcases America’s naval history and heritage. The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Defending America with Pride Since 1775.”

However, during these celebrations it’s important to remember that many naval veterans were exposed to asbestos as they served our nation. Many manufacturers added asbestos to products that were used in the construction of Navy vessels including gaskets, ropes, and lagging. As a consequence, Navy veterans have an elevated risk for asbestos-related diseases including mesothelioma, a lethal cancer for which there is no cure.

View our “U.S. Navy Heroes at Risk” infographic to learn about the various jobs and products associated with asbestos exposure on Navy ships and in shipyards across the country.

It is a sad fact that one third of mesothelioma cases involve Navy or shipyard exposures. If you or a loved one served in the Navy and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation.

Asbestos exposure claims are placed against the companies that manufactured the asbestos-containing products that caused your injury, not the U.S. Navy or U.S. government. Contact Sokolove Law today to learn more about filing an asbestos lawsuit.


Navy Birthday: Remembering Admiral Elmo Zumwalt

On October 13, the U.S. Navy will celebrate its 238th birthday. It was on this day in 1775 that the Continental Congress established the small naval force that was the forerunner of today’s modern American Navy. As we take a moment to salute the courage and commitment of all U.S. sailors past and present, it is also a time to think about the man behind this annual fleet-wide commemoration of the nation’s naval history.

Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. was appointed in 1970 as the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) – the youngest person ever named to the post. While serving as CNO, he initiated a series of reforms to revitalize the Navy. It was Admiral Zumwalt who authorized the celebration of the Navy Birthday on Oct. 13 as a way to highlight the Navy’s proud heritage. He took on a different battle after retiring from the naval service: Admiral Zumwalt fought to get government medical benefits to help Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange during that war.

In a cruel irony, this champion for the medical rights of veterans was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1999. Like many Navy veterans, Admiral Zumwalt was likely exposed to asbestos during his naval service.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure. And one third of mesothelioma cases involve Navy or shipyard exposure.

In the past, the military used many materials that contained asbestos due to their heat resistance, insulation, and fireproofing capabilities. The Navy used asbestos-containing products in its shipyards and in ships that were built before the mid-1970s.

Admiral Zumwalt died in 2000 at age 79. His story is similar to that of thousands of veterans who were exposed to asbestos in the military. A great way to serve his memory – and theirs – is to advocate for a U.S. ban on asbestos.


Sokolove Law Is a Returning Sponsor of the 95th American Legion National Convention

The 95th Annual American Legion National Convention kicks off this weekend in Houston. The convention takes place from August 23rd to August 29th.

Around 9,000 American Legion family members will attend to help further their cause of patriotism and support for servicemen and women, past and present.

Planned events include the annual business meeting as well as special activities such as a parade, patriotic memorial service, exhibits, color guard, band contests, receptions, and banquets. Speakers include U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, former POW Michael Durant, and members of Congress.

Sokolove Law will be in Houston as a returning sponsor of the convention. The Sokolove Law team will be at Booth #338 to talk with veterans and spread the word about the dangers of asbestos exposure, the symptoms of mesothelioma, and legal options. In the military service there is an established history of asbestos exposure, and an elevated risk of mesothelioma in the military population.

Sokolove Law thanks veterans for their service to our country. Please stop by the booth if you are in Houston to meet our team and pick up helpful resources. We always appreciate meeting and talking with our wartime heroes and their families.


National VFW Convention: Sokolove Law Was Returning Sponsor

Sokolove Law experienced another successful sponsorship and exhibition at the 114 VFW National Convention last month in Louisville, Kentucky. The five-day convention (July 20-24) was attended by 10,000 VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members.

This convention was particularly meaningful for the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, which celebrates its 100th anniversary as an organization this year.

Many of those in attendance stopped by the Sokolove Law booth to get information about the relationship between veterans and mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The team met veterans from all military branches who served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam – and came to learn that the phrase “triple dipper” describes an individual who served in all three conflicts.

For the Sokolove team, some convention highlights included meeting veterans one-on-one and getting to thank them in-person for their service, listening to the guest speakers, and watching the ceremonies.

In addition, there was also a well-received Health Fair presentation by Sokolove Law Managing Attorney Ricky LeBlanc regarding the link between veterans and asbestos exposure. The audience learned about the health dangers caused by heavy exposure to asbestos-laden products and materials in the military. Attorney LeBlanc pointed out that since symptoms of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma may not emerge for 40 years, many veterans are still being diagnosed today with life-threatening illnesses that are the result of asbestos exposure decades ago.

Presentation attendees also learned that their VA rights are not impacted by an asbestos claim. In fact, any mesothelioma lawsuit they pursue will not be against the government or the military, but instead against the manufacturers of the asbestos products that were responsible for the exposure.

Sokolove Law thanks veterans for their service and remains committed to helping all those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure.

To better educate yourself or your post, download our “Information on Mesothelioma for Veterans” flyer.


Sixty Years Later, Some Korean War Veterans Fighting Mesothelioma

The U.S. Department of Defense will honor the service and sacrifice of Korean War veterans on July 27th with “Heroes Remembered,” a special ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.

Thousands of veterans who served in the Korean War (June 1950 through July 1953) are expected to attend this event. As of September 2012, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported that there were 2.3 million Korean War veterans still living.

Unfortunately, these veterans, just like veterans of other wars, face an increased risk for mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. In fact, one-third of mesothelioma cases involve U.S. Navy or shipyard exposures.

Mesothelioma has a long latency period. It can take up to 50 years for symptoms to occur. This means that some Korean War veterans today are just being diagnosed with this disease.

What is particularly tragic about mesothelioma is that it could have been prevented. Companies continued to manufacture asbestos-containing products even after the health risks became apparent. They made profits their priority, and put our troops at risk as a result.

If you or a loved one served in the Korean War, suffered asbestos exposure during your service, and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for compensation from the companies that produced asbestos-containing products.

Contact Sokolove Law today to learn more about your legal options. An asbestos paralegal will help to determine if you should file an asbestos lawsuit against the manufacturers—not the government or military—in order to get the justice you deserve.


Remembering All Veterans on Independence Day

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate all that makes our nation great. For most Americans, Independence Day is a time to gather with friends and family to enjoy parades, picnics, and fireworks.

But as you celebrate the joys of this important national holiday, take a moment tomorrow to salute the nation’s veterans: those who are currently serving and those who fought in the past to secure the freedoms we now enjoy.

Of course, many veterans have long since ended their service in defense of our nation. But some are now beginning their greatest battle – the battle against mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Veterans are at a significant risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Before the mid-70s, many asbestos-containing products were used to construct military bases and naval vessels. (Get an overview about the links between military service, asbestos exposure, and mesothelioma with our infographic.)

Asbestos aboard ships was used in products such as insulation and pipe coverings, gaskets, felts, meters, deck coverings, boilers, and adhesives. Engine and boiler rooms, navigation rooms, sleeping quarters, and mess halls all could contain products made with asbestos, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Many naval veterans are just now showing symptoms of mesothelioma despite undergoing asbestos exposure decades ago. The latency period of mesothelioma is long – it can take up to 50 years for symptoms of this devastating disease to emerge.

The asbestos exposure of our nation’s veterans was largely preventable. There is evidence that manufacturers knew that their asbestos-containing products posed a serious health risk to humans. These companies used asbestos in their products despite awareness of the dangers posed by exposure to this carcinogen.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, you may want to consult an asbestos attorney about your legal options. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free consultation. Any asbestos lawsuit you pursue will not be filed against the government or the military.


Honoring All Veterans on Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day, Sokolove Law remembers those who have lost their lives while protecting our country. We also give thanks to our veterans and those men and women who continue to serve our nation bravely.

In honor of all who served, Sokolove Law has made a contribution to Honor and Remember. This nonprofit group is dedicated to preserving the memory of all American lives lost in the defense of our national freedoms.

But Memorial Day is also a time to remember that not all wars are fought on the battlefield. Thousands of our veterans are fighting a battle today against a foe they never imagined: mesothelioma, a fatal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Veterans are at significant risk of mesothelioma due to the widespread use of asbestos by the military. For most of the 20th century, many manufacturers included toxic asbestos in products that were used to build U.S. Navy vessels as well as military bases. These companies used asbestos in their products despite awareness of the serious health hazards posed by exposure to this carcinogen.

Around one-third of U.S. mesothelioma cases have been shown to involve military or shipyard exposures. You can get an overview about the links between military service, asbestos exposure, and mesothelioma with our infographic.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, you may want to consult an asbestos attorney about your legal options. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free consultation. Any asbestos lawsuit you pursue will not be filed against the government or the military.


Asbestos Cleanup at Bay State Antenna Site

Carcinogenic asbestos was once heavily used in military facilities, a point a current story about a former U.S. Air Force facility underscores.

The asbestos-containing facility is in the coastal town of Ipswich, Mass., as The Salem News reports. Air Force personnel there performed antenna and radar testing and research during the Cold War. The military decommissioned and shuttered the site permanently in 2011.

The empty installation sits atop a large hill in a residential neighborhood on 65 acres of leased land on Ipswich’s Great Neck peninsula. At the request of the landowners, the military is now demolishing all the structures on the site. This potentially could have been very hazardous — but a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says that there is no danger from the abatement. That is, as long as pedestrians avoid “the restricted construction site.”

However, the workers who originally constructed the facility almost certainly faced dangerous asbestos exposure. For most of the 20th century, the military used asbestos-containing products in thousands of places. Because it was durable, fireproof, and an excellent insulator, asbestos was the go-to safety material for many military and civilian applications.

According to this government fact sheet, asbestos products used by the military included brakes, gaskets, valves, cements, adhesives, and pipe covering (lagging). The Navy especially made heavy use of asbestos in their vessels — from the engine rooms to the living quarters — before the material was phased out of use in the mid-1970s.

Asbestos exposure can cause serious illnesses, including asbestosis and lung and other cancers, such as mesothelioma. Protective gear and training would have prevented the many fatal asbestos exposures for servicemen. 

Were you diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition? Do you believe you were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military? If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, please contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.