Prior to the knowledge that asbestos is carcinogenic to humans, the U.S. Navy used the mineral as part of the insulating process. This resulted in thousands of sailors being exposed to asbestos on aircraft carriers, submarines, guided missile cruisers, destroyers, frigates, amphibious assault and transport dock ships, and miscellaneous Navy ships.
Asbestos is readily breakable or friable if it has been damaged in any manner. Because of the lack of sufficient ventilation, all naval members were defenseless against the millions of asbestos fibers discharged into the air. Asbestos was primarily utilized in the boiler and engine rooms, but it was also used to insulate pipelines throughout the ship, including the galley and sleeping quarters.
Pipes Coated with Asbestos Lagging Ran Inches above the Bunks in the Sleeping Area
Throughout Navy ships, a sprawling network of pipes delivered steam and cold water. The pipes were wrapped with asbestos insulation to preserve them and keep the steam system operating at maximum efficiency. The insulation was composed of felt wrapping that was covered by a tar exterior covering. The felt layer typically contained 10 to 50 percent asbestos. The pipes snaked their way between sleeping quarters and mess halls. Asbestos fibers become airborne as a result of normal operations or maintenance work, exposing everyone in the vicinity to deadly asbestos dust.
Many Navy veterans who served on ships constructed between World War II and the late 1970s remember sleeping in bunks where asbestos-wrapped pipes were put inches from their mouths and noses while they were asleep.
"The sleeping areas were full of asbestos insulation and various pipes running across the overhead. If you slept on a top bunk your face would be directly under one of these pipes", said World War II Navy veteran George H.
Prolonged Asbestos Exposure May Have Severe Health Consequences
Researchers agree that when asbestos particles are breathed, they get stuck in the lungs, causing scar tissue to build up and lesions to appear in the lungs. In most cases, those who develop asbestos-related illnesses do not exhibit any symptoms for a lengthy period of time after their first exposure. Symptoms of an asbestos-related illness may not emerge for up to 20 years or more after exposure to asbestos.
Although there may be no signs in the early stages of the disease, many Navy veterans may eventually have symptoms such as chronic coughing, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, recurring chest infection, loss of appetite, and weight loss. If you served in the United States Navy between the 1940s and the mid-1970s, tell your doctor about any possible exposure you may have had and keep an eye out for any unexpected changes in your health.
If any Navy veterans have not yet developed health problems as a result of asbestos exposure but are nonetheless worried, they may take precautions by scheduling an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible and requesting a chest X-ray. If an asbestos-related condition is caught in its early stages, treatment options and outcomes do improve.
What Can Navy Veterans Adversely Affected by Exposure to Asbestos Do?
During World War II, asbestos aided the United States military in the production of ships in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner. What the government and military personnel were not aware of was the health risks associated with asbestos exposure, which they later discovered. Despite knowing about the dangers of asbestos, asbestos manufacturing companies concealed this knowledge from the government and continued to sell asbestos-containing products.
If you suffer from a disease caused by exposure to asbestos and you are also a Navy veteran, we can help you by connecting you with respected attorneys for further information on how to collect the compensation to which you are entitled.
Legal claims are subject to a statute of limitations, which means that if you attempt to make a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, you may be unable to pursue compensation. This may result in a very difficult financial and emotional scenario. When you contact an attorney as soon as possible following your diagnosis, you can rest assured knowing they'll get everything filed on time.