Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in many industries for centuries due to its fireproof, lightweight, inexpensive, and corrosion-resistant properties. However, when products containing asbestos are altered and asbestos fibers are released into the air, they can be extremely dangerous for the human body. Inhaling or ingesting these fibers can lead to the development of a rare cancer called mesothelioma. The US Navy is thought to have the highest rate of asbestos use among all military branches.
Starting in the late 1930s, asbestos was used extensively on all ships built, and the government even mandated its use in shipbuilding. As a result, US Navy veterans are at a very high risk of developing mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos on ships. Asbestos was used for fire protection and as an insulator on US Navy ships. It was often used to line, cover, or fill ship equipment to prevent fires aboard ships and reduce any potential damage caused by enemy gunfire.
Asbestos was also used in Navy barracks and family homes, trapping heat and sound in roofs, walls, and tiles. Due to the widespread use of asbestos on warships, there are many different parts of ships that may have exposed sailors to asbestos during their service in the US Navy. These include engine rooms, boiler rooms, sleeping quarters, mess halls, and more. Some rates put sailors at an even greater risk than others, such as shipbuilders, maintenance workers, and those who dismantled ships. Unfortunately, due to the intensity with which asbestos was used in the US Navy, exposure to asbestos was not limited to certain rates or occupations in the Navy.
Asbestos dust was practically everywhere and being concentrated in poorly ventilated enclosed spaces didn't help. As a result, service members who worked in US Navy ships or shipyards have the highest risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. The health risks of asbestos exposure also extended to the families of shipyard workers. Asbestos fibers adhere easily to fabric and other materials, so they could have been brought home with workers in clothes, shoes, and hair, exposing loved ones to second-hand asbestos. If you or a loved one served in the US Navy and were exposed to asbestos on board a ship or in a shipyard, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your illness. Learn more about your legal options today in a free case review.