Rocket-Engine-Component Mechanics and Asbestos Exposure

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No jobs kept people safe from asbestos exposure on Navy ships, not even those that required minimum contact with the material. As a result, every corner of the vessel was contaminated and made of countless products containing the toxic mineral.

The poor ventilation provided an optimum environment for asbestos propagation, facilitating its circulation through all compartments, from insulation materials around pipes, boilers, and engines.

Rocket-engine-component mechanics had the essential role of assembling, testing, and repairing hydraulic, pneumatic, and mechanical components of rocket engines. In addition, they had to use various tools and testing instruments while changing batteries, brake pads, tires, oil, and other equipment.

They had assembly tasks, as well as inspection duties, to determine and calibrate mechanical performance.

James D., a veteran serving aboard the USS North Carolina (BB-55), said: "I remember we would have to remove and install clutches and wheel bearings, and repair engines that we had no idea contained asbestos seals and gaskets."

U.S. Navy mechanics may have been exposed to asbestos and are at risk of developing lung cancer or mesothelioma. Service members performing work in aircraft carriers, buildings, and vehicles on naval bases and those living aboard ships are suffering the effects of this harmful material.

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