Being the only ship of its class, the USS Wasp (CV-7) was built in Quincy, Massachusetts, with the hull number CV-7. It was commissioned in 1940, measured 688 feet in length, and carried over 2,000 men on board and up to 100 aircraft. It was one of the first ships to be sent to fight when the war started. It was in active service for two years before being sunk by the Japanese forces. The veterans that served on the USS Wasp CV-7 are likely to have been exposed to asbestos, a common material to build vessel equipment like valves, pumps, turbines, or even electrical components. Despite its functionality, asbestos is very dangerous and, once inhaled, it causes asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, among other lung problems, and health complications.
Asbestos was applied aboard Navy vessels during the 1950s and early 1960s for heat and sound insulation, and for fireproofing. It was sprayed onto deck heads and bulkheads, while pipes and machinery were insulated with molded sections containing asbestos. The fibers of asbestos can be split by mechanical energy into progressively finer fibers of microscopic size. Respirable asbestos fibers are considered responsible for harmful health effects.