16:39 GMT +314 November 2018
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    Britain's Prince William is pictured at the controls of a Sea King helicopter during a training exercise at Holyhead Mountain, having flown from RAF Valley in Anglesey, north Wales, on March 31, 2011.

    Prince William Among UK Army Vets Exposed to Asbestos Investigated by MoD

    © AFP 2018 / John Stillwell
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    Health concerns for UK military veterans, who served in the Armed Forces and were continuously exposed to "potentially fatal asbestos chemicals," prompted a investigation by the UK Ministry of Defense.

    A statement on health effects of asbestos found in some Sea King helicopters, has been issued by the MoD.

    "The MOD is undertaking a thorough investigation of this and any advice to veterans will be published here when available," the ministry said on Wednesday.

    Asbestos was widely used in the 20th century as an insulating material in boilers, pipework and building construction. The material was also used in Sea King helicopters since they came into service nearly 50 years ago.

    According to the MOD's previous statement, "any remaining items in service Sea Kings suspected to contain asbestos are being removed urgently."

    The ministry added they will contact any individual, who may have been exposed in the past, with recommendation son any required action in relation to the potential exposure.

    In its August report, the Mail on Sunday has revealed that thousands of military engineers were feared to have "inhaled potentially fatal asbestos chemicals while working on Britain's Sea King helicopters."

    Prince William was among the personnel who have maintained the Sea King since it entered service in 1969.

    Britain's Prince Charles (R) and his son Prince William walk back to the RAF Rescue base after Prince William showed his father round his RAF Rescue helicopter at RAF Valley on July 9, 2012, in north-west England
    © AFP 2018 / Chris Jackson
    Britain's Prince Charles (R) and his son Prince William walk back to the RAF Rescue base after Prince William showed his father round his RAF Rescue helicopter at RAF Valley on July 9, 2012, in north-west England

    Contact with asbestos and prolonged exposure can cause asbestosis a serious long-term lung condition.

    The UK National Health Service (NHS) explains that while the material can be dangerous, it does not present a health risk if left undisturbed.

    "But if the material containing asbestos is damaged, it can release a fine dust that contains asbestos fibers. When the dust is breathed in, the asbestos fibers enter the lungs and can gradually damage them over time," the NHS warns.

    UK veterans can file for compensation awards for illness or injury caused in HM Armed Forces. 

    "Awards are not made for exposure, but for an injury or disorder including asbestos related conditions" the MOD specified. 

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    Tags:
    asbestos, military, health, Ministry of Defense, Prince William, United Kingdom
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