SS William S. Ladd Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The SS William S. Ladd was an American Liberty Ship used by the US Navy during World War II whose mission was carrying dry cargo in the war areas. It was named in the honor of William S. Ladd, the American politician and mayor of Portland throughout the 1850s. The ship’s construction started out in late August 1943 and launched just 15 days later. Like most other Liberty Ships, the SS William S. Ladd’s task throughout the war was carrying war cargo into the Pacific Front, specifically anchoring in ports such as Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Hollandia, and Manaus. While anchored in Leyte, preparing to discharge 500 barrels of gasoline and 150 tons of ammunition, the ship got attacked by a squadron of Japanese kamikaze bombers. The ship managed to shot down 3 of them, the last one crashing into it and inflicted heavy damage on the ship. Asbestos exposure occurred when asbestos was damaged, removed, or installed, and asbestos fibers were released into the air. Between World War II and the late-1970s, asbestos was a key construction material in shipbuilding. Shipyard workers responsible for shipbuilding and Navy personnel had the highest levels of asbestos exposure, because they were directly handling asbestos-based insulation that would line the entire structure of every warship built from World War II to the Vietnam War.

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