Asbestos in Shipyards

Asbestos is a material that was ideal for use in the ship building industry because it is highly resistant to corrosion and is one of the best insulating materials ever discovered. The use for asbestos on ships was endless including insulation for boilers, incinerators, hot water pipes and steam pipes. Unfortunately asbestos fibers quite easily can and did become dislodged from these locations, particularly in areas with poor ventilation, which resulted in high levels of exposure to those persons who installed the material or who worked in the in close proximity to the material on board the ship.

Thousands of veterans and shipyard workers were exposed to this dangerous product simply because they worked in close near the material and as a result many of these people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Most of them have been exposed to asbestos for long periods of time. Studies have shown that more than 86 percent of the shipyard workers with over 20 years of work experience have developed asbestos-related diseases such as throat cancer, lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos consists of microscopic fibers that can remain suspended in the air for long periods of time. Due to its unique properties, asbestos was used in many products, including fume hoods, weatherproof jackets, insulation materials, ceiling tiles, and sheet rope.

Asbestos was used in virtually every part of a ship. It was the perfect material for preventing corrosion. A wide range of products, including steam pipes, incinerators, boilers, and hot water pipes contained asbestos. Working on a shipyard made with asbestos-containing materials was almost as deadly as fighting in the war. Research indicates that most manufacturers knew about the health risks linked to asbestos and misled the public.

Naval Shipyards and Asbestos

Asbestos was heavily used in battleships, destroyers, warships, cruisers, submarines, and aircraft carriers. The Navy used over 300 asbestos-containing products in its ships.

Most ships built before the 1980s contained asbestos. The vast majority of people were working in poorly-ventilated rooms loaded with bundles of asbestos. When this material is disturbed, it can release needlelike fibers into the air. These microscopic fibers can be easily inhaled. Asbestos exposure is responsible for a number of deadly diseases such as lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma.

The Health Risks of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos can enter the human body either by breathing or swallowing the material. Once the asbestos fibers have entered the body they usually make their way to the chest cavity, heart, or abdomen. The shape of the fibers and the chemical makeup of the material make it very difficult for the body to remove the fibers from the body as it does with most foreign particles. The result is that the fibers remain lodged in the body for many years. During this period of time the body continuously attempts to remove the material which causes scarring and inflammation of the lungs and leads to severe breathing problems and cancer. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has classified asbestos as a human carcinogen.

Shipyard workers who were exposed to asbestos are now diagnosed with pleural effusion, pleural thickening, malignant mesothelioma, and asbestosis. These diseases take 15 to 50 years to develop. The severity of symptoms depends on the concentration, duration, and frequency of exposure. Asbestos exposure and cigarette smoking increases your chances of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma. In addition to the health problems listed above, workers who were exposed to asbestos may also develop cancer of the stomach, throat, lung, colon, larynx, and kidney.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease you have taken a step in the right direction by seeking information on asbestos exposure. Your next step is to find the best resource material for the treatment of the condition as quickly as possible. We have tried to make that job easier for you by putting together a free informational packet that has the latest, cutting edge information that every asbestos patient needs to know in order to get the best care available. Even better we have a qualified staff with many years of experience in helping patients and their families deal with all aspects of asbestos diseases. Time is of the essence in the fight to overcome asbestos diseases. Free help is available today.