Imagine signing up to serve your country and knowingly putting your own life at risk, only to find that in doing so you’d put your family at risk for malignant mesothelioma and other serious illnesses. That is exactly what has happened to Army personnel who have found themselves living in the military’s asbestos- and lead-contaminated private housing.
The report by the U.S. Army inspector general was ordered after residents testified to Congress about their housing conditions and fears of mesothelioma back in February. The survey showed that the presence of asbestos has caused the majority of the housing residents to live in fear. The report released last week says that 98% of residents in 48 out of 49 locations are worried about their health and safety as a result of dangerous living conditions. They’ve said they don’t know who to call for repairs or concerns, and that even if they’ve found the appropriate contact, nobody responds. Perhaps worst of all, almost 20% of those with concerns have expressed fear that if they complain they will face retaliation.
Speaking of the risk of mesothelioma and other illnesses posed by the current conditions, the report concludes, “Life, health and safety items were neither part of the current Army housing inspection templates, nor were the frequency of compliance visits being followed. An enterprise approach to compliance is needed to provide visibility of issues and synchronization to correct.” The report blamed the current situation on a variety of factors including budget constraints, the fact that many homes are classified as historic, leading to restrictions on renovations, and staff shortages that have left many locations with only one maintenance employee per 2,181 homes instead of the normal one per 100 to 150 units. It is unclear what action Congress will take in response to the report, though several senators expressed outrage and pledged to take action.
If you or someone you love has been sickened by exposure to asbestos, you have the right to pursue legal action against those responsible. For information, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.