Exposure to asbestos can be a serious health risk if asbestos-containing material is disturbed in such a way that the particles and fibers become airborne. Symptoms of asbestos-related diseases, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain, often do not appear until 20 to 50 years after the exposure.
If you are concerned about health problems associated with asbestos exposure during your military service, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.
Veterans who served in any of the following occupations may have been exposed to asbestos: mining, milling, shipyard work, insulation work, demolition of old buildings, carpentry and construction, manufacturing and installation of products such as flooring and roofing.
Veterans who served in Iraq and other countries in that region could have been exposed to asbestos when older buildings were damaged and the contaminant released into the air.
Breathing asbestos mainly causes problems in the lungs and the membrane that surrounds the lungs, including:
Learn more about asbestos and its health effects from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
If you are concerned about health problems associated with exposure to asbestos during your military service, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.
Veterans may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to exposure to asbestos during military service. VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis. File a claim online.
Learn more about VA benefits.