Metalsmiths and Asbestos Exposure


Navy shipyards involved a higher degree of exposure and risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. All vessels required construction work, which implied installing and removing items containing asbestos.

These operations created massive amounts of dust through cutting, sawing, and shaping materials during repair activities. Metalsmiths were directly exposed to asbestos products and in danger of inhaling the toxic fibers daily.

Metalsmiths were in charge of shaping, cutting, and welding sheet metal to make parts and repair any damage to the ship. They had to wear protective equipment, which also contained asbestos, because of the high temperatures they were constantly in contact with. As a result, their gear would often deteriorate, which only accelerated the release of fibers in the air while being in use.

Metalsmiths also served in the military, where they handled directly asbestos products while forging metal elements and carrying out inspections on aircrafts and their components.

Quoting Richard B., who served on the USS Monssen (DD-798): "We had to saw through asbestos insulation around pipes which dispensed a lot of dust that we inevitably inhaled, causing us irreparable health damages."

U.S. Navy workers are at significant risk of developing an incurable disease as a consequence of asbestos exposure.

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