The SS Alanson B. Houghton was a Liberty Ship built by J.A. Jones Construction, Panama City in January 1944 and sponsored by Mrs. H.R. Pratt. It was transferred to the American South African Lines soon after the launch. The ship was laid up in the National Reserve Fleet in Mobile, Alabama in October 1949 and sold for scrapping to Union Minerals and Alloys Corporation in 1971. Asbestos, a naturally occurring silicate mineral that once was used to insulate boilers, incinerators, hot water pipes, and steam pipes on ships, can be incredibly dangerous. The inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, as well as other health problems. Anyone who served onboard the Alanson B. Houghton should consult a doctor if they experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, dry cough or wheezing, chest pain, or tightness.