Lung Cancer After Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Navy

Lung cancer is one of the most common and deadly cancers, causing over 160,000 deaths per year in the United States alone. Unfortunately, many U.S. Navy veterans face an elevated risk of developing lung cancer due to significant asbestos exposure while serving on naval ships and in shipyards. If you or a loved one has received a lung cancer diagnosis due to asbestos exposure or suspected asbestos exposure while serving in the U.S. Navy, contact Braver Law to file a claim and receive the compensation you deserve.

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Get the Compensation You Deserve

We've recovered $100+ million in compensation for clients nationwide. Find fair compensation and file a claim, with first payment in as little as 90 days.


Get the Compensation You Deserve

Our VA-accredited lawyers have recovered $100+ million in compensation for clients nationwide. We help veterans file claims, with first payment in as little as 90 days.


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"If you have lung cancer or mesothelioma, don’t assume that you do not have a case. Go ahead and contact Braver Law. They know exactly what needs to be done to win your case."

- Osvaldo P , Miami, FL

Asbestos was heavily used in naval ships and shipyards until the 1970s for insulation, fireproofing and soundproofing. As a result, Navy veterans who served during World War II through the Vietnam War faced very high levels of asbestos exposure that could lead to lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases later in life.

Braver Law has extensive experience helping Navy veterans who have developed lung cancer due to asbestos exposure receive the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one served in the Navy and now has lung cancer, contact our team today to learn about your legal options.

Occupational Cancers Affecting Navy Veterans

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is by far the most common cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to genetic cellular changes over time, causing malignant lung cancer tumors to develop. The two main types of lung cancer caused by asbestos are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. The risk and severity depends on the amount and duration of exposure. Navy veterans often faced heavy asbestos exposure working in boiler rooms, engine rooms, sleeping quarters and more.


Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the mesothelial lining around the lungs, heart, abdomen and other organs. The disease is directly caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Mesothelioma has a very poor prognosis, with most patients surviving 12-21 months after diagnosis. The latency period is very long, with symptoms usually developing 20-50 years after exposure. All types of asbestos can cause mesothelioma. Many Navy veterans develop pleural mesothelioma that affects the lining of the lungs.

Other Asbestos-Related Cancers

While lung cancer and mesothelioma are the most common, asbestos exposure also elevates the risk of other cancers like larynx, ovary, colon, rectum and stomach cancer. This is because once inhaled, asbestos fibers can travel through the body and potentially damage DNA in various tissues over time. Those with heavy asbestos exposure face the highest risk of these secondary asbestos-related cancers.

Cancer Risk Factors in the Navy

Heavy Asbestos Exposure

The U.S. Navy used asbestos heavily on ships and in shipyards until the 1970s. Navy veterans faced exposure levels far beyond background levels faced by the general public in:

  • Engine & Boiler Rooms - Asbestos insulation used on pipes, boilers, turbines.
  • Sleeping Quarters - Asbestos in insulation, walls, ceilings. Damage or debris could release fibers.
  • Mess Halls - Asbestos used in insulation, electrical wiring.
  • Onboard Repairs - Cutting, mixing or removing asbestos products.
  • Ship Overhauls & Conversions - asbestos ripped out of ships without safety precautions.

The intense heat on ships often damaged asbestos materials, releasing millions of toxic fibers into the air. Without respiratory protection, Navy veterans inhaled extremely high levels of asbestos this way.

Long Latency Period

Lung cancer and mesothelioma have very long latency periods. The first onset of symptoms usually occurs 20-50 years after the initial asbestos exposures. Most Navy veterans exposed decades ago are just now showing symptoms of asbestos-related disease. The long gap between asbestos exposure and illness makes these cancers challenging to detect. Veterans may fail to connect their underlying lung disease to asbestos in the Navy from 40-50+ years prior.


Although asbestos exposure alone can cause lung cancer, smoking is also an independent risk factor. When combined with asbestos exposure, smoking drastically increases lung cancer risk. Smoking can multiply the cancer risk up to 90 times for those also exposed to asbestos. Secondhand smoke may also play a role.

During the peak years of asbestos use, smoking was ubiquitous in the Navy with cigarettes actually included in C-rations through 1975. Most veterans picked up the habit at very young ages. The combination of widespread smoking and asbestos use created a ticking time bomb for many Navy veterans.

Radon Exposure

Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that occurs from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Long-term radon exposure is the #2 cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Radon accumulates in the lower levels of buildings, including basements and mines. Studies show radon levels in some coastal ship compartments were up to 100 times above recommended thresholds. The combination of radon, asbestos, and smoking created a perfect cancer storm for many veterans serving below deck.

By understanding the complex factors behind lung cancer in Navy veterans, Braver Law can help identify the root causes and hold negligent manufacturers fully accountable. If you have lung cancer and served in the U.S. Navy, contact us today to explore your legal options.

Navy Ships and Sites With Asbestos

Asbestos was used heavily on Naval ships and in shipyards until the mid 1970s. The toxic mineral was valued for insulation, fireproofing and soundproofing properties. Asbestos products were found throughout nearly all Navy vessels and facilities over the years. Some known asbestos exposure hotspots include:

World War II Era Ships: Asbestos insulation widely used in engine and boiler rooms, pumps, valves, sleeping quarters and more. Heavy exposure tearing out asbestos on ship overhauls. Many WWII ship decommissioning's in the 1970s released vast amounts of asbestos dust.

Aircraft Carriers: Insulation on pipes, boilers and turbines below deck contained asbestos. Fleet overhauls ripped up asbestos materials. Welding, brazing and grinding operations around asbestos also released toxic dust.

Destroyers/Cruisers: Steam pipe systems, hot water pipes, pumps, valves and other equipment contained asbestos materials. Those working below deck faced the greatest risk of exposure.

Submarines: Extremely high asbestos content due to need for insulation. Steam and mechanical rooms housed asbestos on pipes, pumps, valves, boilers, evaporators, heaters. Confined space increased hazard.

Shipyards: Navy shipyards like Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Pearl Harbor, Norfork and Hunters Point contained massive amounts of asbestos. Insulators, electricians, machinists, welders, joiners and others faced daily asbestos exposures modernizing and repairing ships.

Other Shore Facilities: Asbestos used widely at Naval and Marine bases and facilities for insulation until the 1970s. Any veteran stationed at a Naval facility before this era faced risk of asbestos exposure.

Identifying where, when and how a veteran was exposed to asbestos-containing materials is crucial to documenting a lung cancer claim. This includes ALL of your duty stations and responsibilities in the Navy. Braver Law can pinpoint asbestos exposures and help veterans recall forgotten details from their service. Contact us today for a free case review.

Compensation for Veterans with Lung Cancer

If you or a loved one served in the Navy and now has lung cancer or mesothelioma, you may be eligible for significant financial compensation through an injury claim or lawsuit. Money cannot erase the suffering asbestos exposure has caused, but it can help offset expensive cancer treatments to improve quality of life. Compensation can also help protect the financial future of your loved ones.

There are two main ways Navy veterans with cancer caused by asbestos can recover compensation:

  • VA Disability Benefits - Veterans injured due to asbestos exposure on active duty can file for disability benefits through the VA. However, the VA process can be cumbersome and benefits are limited compared to a lawsuit.
  • Asbestos Trust Funds / Lawsuits - Veterans can file claims against asbestos trusts and bankruptcy trusts set up by manufacturers that used asbestos. Over $30 billion in funding is available. 

In addition, a veteran’s surviving family can pursue compensation even after their loved one has passed away. There are no upfront costs or fees to file an asbestos injury claim or lawsuit. Attorneys work on contingency, only collecting a fee if money is recovered for you.

Don't assume you do not qualify or wait until it's too late. Contact Braver Law today for a free case evaluation.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Asbestos manufacturers knew for decades asbestos caused deadly diseases but covered it up to maximize profits. Once studies linking asbestos to mesothelioma could no longer be denied in the late 1970s, asbestos litigation skyrocketed. Facing overwhelming liability, many manufacturers declared bankruptcy.

As a condition of bankruptcy, these companies were required to establish asbestos bankruptcy trusts and asbestos trust funds. Money was set aside to compensate asbestos victims. There is now over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds from 60+ companies. This includes major asbestos manufacturers like Johns Manville, Owens Corning Fiberglass, Pittsburgh Corning, Armstrong, W.R. Grace, U.S. Gypsum and many others.

Asbestos trusts administer and pay out money to victims who became ill from that company’s asbestos products. Since Navy veterans faced asbestos exposure from many manufacturers, they often qualify for numerous trust funds. By thoroughly investigating your asbestos exposure history, we identify every trust fund possible to maximize your compensation.

While the VA process provides limited, inconsistent rewards, asbestos trusts offer reliable access to billions reserved just for Navy veterans like you. Contact Braver Law to explore your trust fund options today.

Lung Cancer Lawsuits

In addition to asbestos bankruptcy trusts, filing a lawsuit against asbestos companies still in business today can secure significant compensation for Navy veterans. While former major manufacturers like Johns-Manville are long bankrupt, many companies continue selling asbestos products overseas while denying responsibility for the asbestos epidemic at home.

Lawsuits pressure these companies to pay their fair share for the misery their asbestos products have inflicted on veterans and their families. Companies like 3M, Georgia Pacific, Ford Motor Company, Pfizer, Exxon Mobil and many others face lawsuits over asbestos. Braver Law consults with medical experts to gather evidence showing how asbestos exposure in the Navy caused lung cancer or mesothelioma. We build strong legal cases to hold corporations fully accountable.

In many cases, we have secured compensation through both trust funds and lawsuits for veterans. A veteran’s lifetime asbestos exposures from dozens of companies create many avenues for compensation. We leave no stone unturned, pursuing every company responsible to maximize recovery for your family. Contact us today to explore your options.

The Process for Filing a Claim

The process for filing an asbestos exposure claim on behalf of a Navy veteran with lung cancer or mesothelioma consists of:

  1. Free Case Evaluation - Call Braver Law for a free, no obligation review of your potential claim. Provide details on asbestos exposure history in the Navy.
  2. Collect Documentation - We gather service records, medical files, employment history to build a timeline of asbestos exposure from ALL sources.
  3. Investigation & Filing - Our asbestos litigation team identifies all potential asbestos trust claims and prepares claims forms. We also explore lawsuit options against still solvent companies.
  4. Settlement Offers - As offers come in from various asbestos trust funds and lawsuit defendants, we negotiate maximum amounts and determine the best route to optimize compensation.
  5. Get Compensated - Once you accept a settlement, companies dispense payment quickly so you receive fair compensation in a timely manner.

There are no upfront costs or attorney fees to victims. We only collect payment if and when we obtain compensation for you and your family. Intake is risk-free and all upside!

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Loss of life is tragic enough without adding unnecessary financial hardship on loved ones. Take action now by calling Braver Law for priority assistance with your Navy asbestos claim.

Asbestos Bans & Regulations

Although asbestos is heavily restricted today, this was not always the case. For decades, asbestos was considered an essential industrial material due to its affordability, durability and heat resistance. This led to its ubiquitous integration into thousands of military, industrial and consumer products.

Strict regulations limiting asbestos use only began emerging in the 1970s, after irrefutable research proved mesothelioma and lung cancer were clearly linked to asbestos particle inhalation. Unfortunately, even once these serious health consequences were evident, banning asbestos still took decades. If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis due to asbestos exposure, contact Braver Law.

Asbestos Substitutes

Once the dangers of asbestos became impossible for companies to ignore, an intensive search for replacement materials intensified through the 1980s and 1990s. Today, safer high-temperature insulation and fireproofing substitutes are now widely available. These include:

  • Fiberglass - Fiberglass insulation is composed of extremely fine glass fibers and contains no asbestos. It serves well as thermal insulation and to impede fire, smoke and sound transmission.
  • Mineral Wool - Mineral wool insulation like rock wool and slag wool provide similar insulation and fire resistance as asbestos but without the toxic components. Mineral wool is composed of natural materials like basalt or diabase.
  • Calcium Silicate - This is an affordable, durable insulation made from limestone and sand. It is a green product popular as asbestos replacement for pipes and high temperature equipment like boilers.
  • Cellulose - Shredded recycled newspaper or other natural fibers compose cellulose insulation. This product uses at least 75% recycled content, making it environmentally friendly. Treatment with borate or silicone makes it fire and mold resistant.
  • Ceramic Fiber - For extreme high heat applications up to 2012° F where asbestos once served, ceramic wool insulation is now the product of choice. Composed of alumina and silica fibers, it is lightweight and contains no asbestos.

The widespread availability of these safer asbestos-free substitutes means there is no reason for any entity to continue using asbestos today. Products containing asbestos should be reported immediately to minimize health risks to others. Protect your family and co-workers by staying vigilant.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I was exposed to asbestos in the Navy?


Asbestos was extremely widespread aboard Navy ships and at shipyards until at least the 1970s. If you served any time prior to 1980, you should assume you encountered asbestos products at some point. Most exposure occurred in engine rooms, sleeping quarters, mess halls or during ship maintenance/overhauls. Even just walking through corridors with encapsulated asbestos could release fibers into the air if materials were disturbed. Remember that asbestos dust is invisible to the naked eye, so visual confirmation isn't always possible. Check our asbestos navy ships list to see if your vessel(s) contained asbestos.

What specific asbestos products were used in the Navy?


Many different asbestos materials were integrated all over naval ships and facilities. These include but are not limited to: asbestos cement sheets, asbestos cloth/tape/rope, asbestos gaskets, asbestos pipe covering, asbestos floor tiles, asbestos thermal insulation (boilers, pipes, valves), asbestos electrical insulation, joint compound, turbines, pumps, condensers, evaporators, steam traps, cooling towers, missile launching systems, reactors, turbines, electrical wiring and more. Asbestos was also prevalent at Navy shipyards and bases.

Can you still file a claim if unable to provide proof of asbestos exposure?


Yes. The U.S. Navy used asbestos so widely that proof of service aboard qualifying vessels or facilities is sufficient circumstantial evidence of exposure. While service records help bolster a claim, lack of documentation should not deter you from pursuing compensation. An experienced asbestos law firm like ours will investigate and document qualifying exposures to support your claim.

How much compensation for lung cancer or mesothelioma can Navy veterans expect?


Compensation amounts vary based on age, medical prognosis, funeral costs, lost income, suffering/hardship and other factors. This money can help cover expensive treatments and provide some financial security to your loved ones to offset hardship from your condition.

How long can I expect to wait to receive compensation?


Every case timeline stands on its own based on details. However, at Braver Law we take pride in accelerating even complex claims. We credit our strategic approach, dedicated resources and strong rapport with trust administrators and corporate attorneys. No guaranteed timeline exists, but we often secure initial settlement offers within 6 months.

Can my family file a claim if I already passed away from lung cancer or mesothelioma?


Yes. Your legal rights can be passed on to family members after your death. At Braver Law, we have secured millions in compensation for widows and other descendants of deceased veterans. Securing your family's financial future is a key reason not to delay contacting us if you have an asbestos-related disease.