The use of asbestos in the U.S. Army
For about a hundred years, asbestos was in heavy use in thousands of industrial products, especially related to construction, maintenance or vehicles of all types. People discovered that this mineral had incredible insulating properties millennia ago, however it was only commercially exploited, on a large scale, beginning in the late 19th century. Soon enough, its noxious effects were suspected; however, by then its benefits seemed so useful that many companies – and the U.S. government itself – were willing to overlook potential health and safety issues. The cost in human lives is still being paid to this day, because the effects of asbestos exposure only become apparent decades after the exposure has taken place; thus, if though asbestos use was much reduced and strictly regulated beginning in the ‘70s, exposure is still taking place or manifesting itself.
The U.S. Army servicemen and women are among those heavily affected by exposure to asbestos, due to their constant work with products that contained asbestos and whose use was unregulated. For instance, a number of items used in Army vehicles contained asbestos, from brakes to gaskets; asbestos was also heavily employed in Army barracks, from the plumbing systems to roofing, flooring, electrical wiring and many other insulating and fire-retardant uses.
Asbestos products U.S. Army veterans may have been exposed to