Asbestos Exposure in Navy Ships
World War II is a storied period for American veterans, and many of these men and women worked or served diligently on Navy ships. Unfortunately, their hard work, long hours, and dedication exposed them to another danger, one that was not fully realized until decades after the war.
Asbestos, a highly insulating material, was widely used in Navy ships and shipyards, and little mind was paid to the dangers this fibrous material posed to those who worked with it. For years leading up to, during, and after World War II, Navy personnel were exposed to massive amounts of asbestos fibers both in and around Navy vessels. It is these fibers that have led to a significant number of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases developing in veterans.
Asbestos in Ships and Shipyards
Almost every Navy shipyard used asbestos in one form or another to ensure its ships would withstand the significant temperature changes that came with ocean travel. Asbestos insulation was used in the hulls to protect them from extreme heat and cold. It was also used to insulate pipes, boilers, and electrical fixtures. The engine rooms of Navy ships were especially heavy with asbestos, limiting the chances of fire from either an engine malfunction or as a result of a strike from another ship. Ceilings and walls of the areas near engine rooms were lined with asbestos, much of it easily breakable, thus releasing its long, thin fibers into the close quarters of the ships.
Those people on board had no idea they were breathing in these fibers on a daily basis, which then stuck in the membranous linings around their hearts, lungs, and abdomens. Even those working in the shipyards were at risk, as the dangers of asbestos were not well-known until the late 1960s and early 1970s. Large buckets of asbestos were not marked as dangerous, and no safety precautions were taken to protect those using these materials.
VA Claims and Benefits
Now, many law firms, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), have been seeking to create comprehensive lists of both ships and shipyards that regularly used asbestos and track how many Navy personnel were exposed. If you or a loved one served in the Navy or worked at a shipyard such as the Ingalls Shipyard in Alabama, the Moore Drydock in California, or the Pearl Harbor Shipyard in Hawaii, get tested for such asbestos-related diseases as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Similarly, if you served aboard aircraft carriers like the USS Liscome Bay, the USS Princeton, or the USS Hancock, see your doctor. If it is discovered that you have been affected by exposure to asbestos while working at a shipyard or serving aboard a Navy ship, contacting both the VA and a lawyer can help you to find compensation.
While Navy ships and asbestos have resulted in a large number of veterans and workers being exposed to this potentially deadly mineral, there is hope for recovery and treatment. Funding for mesothelioma research is on the rise, and doctors across the country are dedicating their careers to discovering ways to combat the effects of asbestos-related diseases. These strategies include standard surgical methods as well as new drug therapies, radiation, and combinations of treatments that ease suffering and increase lifespan.
If you'd like more information about Navy ships and asbestos, fill out the form on this page. We'll send you a free information packet containing facts about exposure, testing, and treatment. Further we have Veterans on staff who are available to assist you with any questions you may have regarding V.A. Benefits.