Disbursing Officers and Asbestos Exposure


For the better part of the last century, asbestos has been extensively used throughout military and commercial ships. Therefore, anyone who spent time on Navy ships was inevitably exposed to this hazardous mineral, which today is known to cause numerous life-threatening diseases. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause a number of severe medical conditions such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis or cancers in other organs.

The Navy used asbestos because of its heat resistance and chemical damage, but also for tensile strength and affordability. Asbestos was used almost everywhere, starting from engine rooms to dining halls and sleeping quarters. Asbestos lagging was the Navy's major use of asbestos aboard ships. This insulating wrap put around pipes were a real concern for veterans. These pipes passed through sleeping quarters, mess halls, and other areas of the vessel. Any damage to the pipe coatings caused asbestos fibers to become airborne, placing anyone nearby in danger.

"I was the disbursing officer, ship store officer, commissary officer for I guess the whole tour that I was on there. I reported onboard June '65 and I was on there for two and a half years. My recollection of the pipes, they were all wrapped in asbestos, I do remember seeing that", says a Navy veteran exposed to asbestos on USS Rockbridge (APA-228).

Normally, a disbursing officer is charged with the duty of paying out the ship's personnel and also officially accept, safeguard, and dispose of personal funds and valuables received for safekeeping. Aboard Navy vessels, disbursing officers were also authorized to perform additional duties in other accountable positions such as the ship's store officer or food service officer when the ship's manpower authorization does not provide supply corps officers for each accountable function.

Since asbestos was highly prevalent in the U.S. Navy throughout the last century, many U.S. veterans are just now experiencing symptoms and facing serious diseases as a result of asbestos exposure, decades after serving. Veterans who were exposed to asbestos without being warned and have been affected by lung cancer, mesothelioma or another type of asbestos-related disease are eligible for filing a claim through an asbestos trust fund, a claim filed against companies that provided the asbestos-contaminated products for the shipbuilding process, maintenance or repairing. We encourage you to take legal action immediately, as time is unfortunately limited. Please contact us at 760.621.6147 and let us know how and when you were exposed to asbestos.

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