Crew Members and Asbestos Exposure

Crew Members.jpg

Navy ships and shipyards generated the most severe asbestos exposure due to tremendous asbestos fireproofing and insulation products intended to cover equipment that could reduce damage from enemy attacks.

The enclosed vessel spaces were filled with high concentrations of the toxic material, and those working onboard were constantly covered by airborne asbestos fibers floating as dust.

Given the poor ventilation and tight quarters where the ship's personnel ate, lived, and slept, nobody was safe from asbestos exposure. The common areas and the crew's living cabins abounded in asbestos due to the pipes running throughout them, but many other different parts of the ship were contaminated:

  • boiler rooms
  • engine rooms
  • mess halls

Crew members, including ship workers, were enlisted personnel assigned to crew the ship. They had to be familiar with essential maintenance and navigation techniques, know how to do repairs on the vessel and do basic troubleshooting. Crew members were often assigned to different duties, handling tasks like:

  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • washing dishes
  • maintenance work
  • navigation
  • security
  • painting

Keeping a ship running and in good shape meant constant repair work that disturbed the asbestos insulation sending microscopic asbestos fibers into the air. The tiny particles can float for hours, increasing the risk of inhaling or ingesting them. Asbestos wasn't considered hazardous, and crew members were exposed to it during regular maintenance tasks without protective equipment.

Among the crew members exposed to asbestos on Navy ships built before the 80s were relevant job titles like:

Asbestos inhalation may cause life-threatening diseases decades after military service. It is why many veterans experience lifer-altering health conditions thanks to unknowingly breathing in toxic asbestos fibers during their service. As Gerald L., a ship's cook on USS ABSD-7 said before his demise in 2017: "Contrary to popular belief, everyone who served in the Navy made sacrifices that generated threats they were not ready for. As we continue to fight for our lives, we now realize that even our equipment contained asbestos and accelerated our resulting diseases."

Navy veterans who served during World War II will likely develop asbestos-related conditions. If you think you were exposed to asbestos during your years in the military, we strongly advise you to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible when experiencing symptoms like:

  • pain in the chest or shoulder
  • unintentional weight loss
  • pain in the chest or shoulder
  • persistent dry cough
  • shortness of breath
  • respiratory system complications
  • night sweats
  • fatigue
  • general weakness

Upon an asbestos-related cancer diagnosis, you qualify to file claims with asbestos trust funds and the VA and receive compensation. We can help by connecting you with experienced attorneys ready to assist with your case.

If you have a cancer diagnosis please contact us

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