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Veterans battle asbestos-related cancers

Many of the past exposures to asbestos occurred to the veterans of our armed forces while they served our country. After developing a disease from their asbestos exposure, they may qualify for receiving service-connected compensation benefits.

All of the following occupations are known to have exposed workers to deadly asbestos:

-- Construction

-- Mining

-- Millwork

-- Carpentry

-- Manufacturing and installation of cement sheeting, roofing, flooring and pipes

-- Shipbuilding

-- Demolitions

-- Insulation installation and removal

-- Servicing friction products like brake linings and clutch facings

Those veterans of the Iraq conflicts, as well as those deployed to other countries in the Middle East may also have had asbestos exposures from older buildings that were damaged. Disturbances can readily release the contaminants into the air.

In order to determine your potential eligibility, certain requirements must be met, including:

-- Being discharged under other conditions than dishonorable

-- Being diagnosed with a disability or disease related to a service-connected exposure

-- Having been exposed to asbestos while serving in the military

Simply being exposed in not sufficient; the disease must manifest itself and be diagnosed. Service members who claim this type of exposure will typically have to undergo a medical examination at the VA. A VA official will then request a medical opinion about the relationship between any service-related asbestos exposure and the subsequent diagnosis.

As all of this will likely be quite overwhelming to a veteran already burdened with serious health issues and disabilities, many choose to seek legal counsel to make sure that his or her best interests remain foremost.

Source: Department of Veterans Affairs, "Asbestos Exposure," accessed Nov. 20, 2015

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