The use of asbestos in the U.S. Marine Corps
Asbestos was in wide use around the world for about a century, before its noxious health effects became too evident to ignore. By that time, however, it had infiltrated all aspects of human life, from the buildings we lived in to the vehicles we drove. The U.S. Armed Forces started restricting and heavily regulating the use of asbestos in army products in the 1970s; however, thousands of vehicles, barracks and products built or made before that time are still rich in this toxic mineral.
The U.S. Marine Corps deliver combined-arms support anywhere needed, generally using the mobility provided by the Navy. Because of this fact, U.S. marines were exposed to the same dangers as the Navy servicemen and women, since asbestos-rich products were and are still around. Engines, boilers, brakes, clutches, wiring, pipes, entire rooms were insulated using asbestos, and the confinement of navy ships meant that asbestos fibers released into the air were circulated all around the ship, endangering everyone.
On land, barracks were often built with heavy reliance on asbestos for roofing, tiling and all sorts of insulation, so the dangers of asbestos exposure were still present.
Asbestos products U.S. Marine Corps veterans may have been exposed to