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Boiler and Engine Room Workers - Mesothelioma Risks

In September 1934, a tragic ship accident occurred at sea. The cruise ship S.S. Morro Castle was returning from a vacation in the middle of the night. A raging fire began on the ship, completely destroying it within hours. Many people were unable to escape, leaving 135 passengers on board. The ship did not have many safety measures, and the ship's crew were not well-trained for this kind of emergency situation. From that point on, it was decided that asbestos would be used throughout all ships to prevent something like this from happening again.

Boilers and engine rooms are notorious for having high temperatures and somewhat dangerous conditions, especially on a large ship where these machines are powering a ship weighing 1,000 tons or more. Due to their large risk, asbestos was commonly added to parts of boilers, the rooms they were in, and the same goes for the ship's engines. Asbestos was desired for its lightweight, durable, and heat and fire resistant qualities. Asbestos made a good insulator, which kept the machines working and maintained their heat without radiating it onto the workers. The workers' safety gear probably contained asbestos as well, although we know now that it may have actually done more harm than good.

Asbestos was once considered a "miracle mineral" and was added to almost every product imaginable. It was intended to make things fire-retardant and heatproof, as well as safer and more durable; however, it was slowly harming everyone in the process. The problem has to do with the asbestos fibers; if inhaled or ingested, the fibers become embedded in the lining of the lungs, called the mesothelium, instead of being excreted from the body.

The fibers can cause scarring, inflammation, irritation and fluid buildup, eventually leading to the development of a mesothelioma tumor. The tumor is very slow to develop, and it could take years before symptoms become noticeable to the patient, or distinguishable from the symptoms of other respiratory ailments. By then, it may be too late. Mesothelioma patients are often not diagnosed until the later stages of the cancer, due to its long latency period, and the fact that many people aren't aware of their asbestos exposure in the first place.

More than 3,000 people each year are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Statistics show that even more people each year will be affected, because we are approaching the end of the latency period which would have begun when asbestos use was at its highest. If you or a loved one worked on a ship, especially in the boiler or engine room, it is advised that you contact a doctor as soon as possible, and continue to maintain regular visits with them in order to catch the mesothelioma in case it starts to develop. Boiler and engine room workers are at high risk for mesothelioma, due to the large amounts of asbestos they were exposed to. Especially on older ships, the asbestos can get brittle and start to deteriorate, releasing even more harmful fibers into the air.

It is important to remember that the fault for this awful disease does not rest on you. For years, asbestos companies were aware of the dangers of their product but hid the information from everyone—including the government. It is their gross negligence that is responsible for this—and you can fight it. If you are serious about receiving compensation from these companies, contact a personal injury lawyer who will work to get you the best results possible.

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Workers at Risk for Asbestos Exposure

Below are a list of occupations and trades that were at risk for asbestos exposure:

Last Edited: Thu November 14, 2013