The SS Leland Stanford was a Liberty ship built at California Shipbuilding Corporation, Terminal Island, California, during World War II. The cargo ship was named after Amasa Leland Stanford, an American industrialist, politician, and founder of Stanford University. The SS Leland Stanford was laid down on 23 June 1942, under a Maritime Commission, and launched on 4 August 1942. Being a very good insulation material, because of its high resistance to heat, fire, and water, asbestos was highly used throughout the Navy vessels. The exposure to asbestos took place during repairs of metal infrastructures such as valves and sanitation and plumbing systems around the ship, or components of the main engines or diesel engines and generators. The poor ventilation in the rooms where pipefitters, boilermen, enginemen or hull maintenance technicians were assigned to work aggravated the risk of developing mesothelioma and lung cancer among workers due to the high concentration of asbestos fibers.