USS Winjah (CVE-54) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS Winjah (CVE-54) was a Bogue-class escort aircraft carrier laid down on June 5, 1943, and launched on November 22, the same year. It was commissioned on February 18, 1944, as HMS Reaper with the hull number D-82 under the United Kingdom’s flag and served in the Royal Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on July 2, 1946. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 890 men on board. After the decommissioning, the USS Winjah (CVE-54) was transferred back to the USA and struck from the Navy List on July 8.

The United States learned how to build large ships quickly during World War II. These ships contained tons of asbestos to take advantage of the mineral’s fireproofing and insulation properties. In its pure form asbestos is composed of fibers measuring less than 3x1microns. This is 20 times smaller than human hair, which means it cannot be seen by the naked eye. This is the reason that it is so deadly as it can be inhaled without the person realizing it. When inhaled, these fibers become embedded in the lungs causing life-threatening health problems.

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