New App Aids Veterans Jeopardized by Asbestos

2 Min Read

military veteran looking at cellphone

Veterans fall victim to the deadly cancer mesothelioma at a significantly higher rate than the general population. One out of three who receive the tragic diagnosis served in the military.

Now, through a new mobile application created by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), former military personnel can assess and learn about their risks for developing asbestos-related diseases like this deadly cancer, perhaps sooner than they may have otherwise.

Called Exposure Ed, the free app enables veterans to quickly find answers to their questions about health issues they are facing that they suspect are related to exposure to a service-related toxic substance, including lethal asbestos.

Veterans Involuntarily Exposed to Asbestos During Service

The military used enormous amounts of asbestos in their building projects from the 1930s through the 1980s, exposing hundreds of thousands of military personnel to the highly carcinogenic material.

All branches of the U.S. Armed Services used asbestos, but Navy veterans appear to have the highest risk of mesothelioma because of the extensive use of the lethal substance on Navy ships.

With a 20-50 year latency period before the manifestation of mesothelioma, it is only now that some servicemen and women are discovering the deadly effects of their peace or wartime service.

App Designed for Ease of Use

This app allows for quick answers to questions or concerns using a smartphone or tablet, including what type of help the VA provides in relation to the exposure.

Exposure Ed opens up with a screen showing three icons: 

  • Exposures
  • Date/Location
  • Conflict

If the user clicks on “Exposures” a list comes up naming several toxic substances like Agent Orange, Burn Pits, Chromium, Asbestos, and others.

 If “asbestos” is selected the app provides:

  1. A description
  2. Who may have been exposed
  3. Health implications
  4. VA policies and programs
  5. Additional resources like fact sheets, news, and research

The “Date/Location” icon helps users who might not be aware of what they were exposed to. By typing in the dates and locations of where they served, the app tells them what toxic exposures occurred at those times and places.

The third “Conflict” icon lists all the wars beginning with World War II and the resultant exposures associated with them.

How to Get the App

This comprehensive, easy-to-use tool allows veterans easy access to answers anytime and anywhere. Originally designed for healthcare providers, the VA now makes it available for anyone seeking this information.

No log-in is needed to utilize the app, and it can be downloaded through the Apple Store or Google Play on a smartphone. The VA’s website also offers the app on its website.

The tool offers an optional tutorial at the beginning of use to guide the user through the app’s features.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

  1. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (n.d.). VAmobile: Exposure Ed. Retrieved from:
  2. Mills-Gregg, D. (2019, Nov. 25). Veterans Can Now Learn About Their Toxic Exposure Risks with new VA App. Retrieved from: