Madisonville, Louisiana has a long and illustrious history in the boating and shipbuilding industries. During the War of 1812, the U.S. Navy actually constructed and maintained its vessels in Madisonville. Numerous products utilized in Madisonville Shipyard's production process included hazardous asbestos. Asbestos was highly desired in shipbuilding and other sectors due to its insulating and heat-resistant characteristics. By the 1940s, the health risks associated with asbestos exposure had been more commonly recognized, though not highly publicized. According to studies, when asbestos fibers became airborne, the substance might lodge in the lungs, causing cancer.