More than 30 percent of Americans diagnosed with mesothelioma were first exposed to asbestos during their time in the military. While veterans from all branches of the military were exposed to asbestos, Navy veterans account for an unusually high number of mesothelioma victims.
Nearly every ship and shipyard built by the U.S. Navy was constructed with asbestos materials. Asbestos was so common on navy ships and submarines because of its strength and heat-resistance properties – properties ideal for engine and boiler rooms that generate excessive amounts of heat.
There were many other parts of the ship where the insulation properties of asbestos were highly sought after including weapons rooms, mess halls and sleeping quarters. More than 300 asbestos products and materials were used in the United States military. Asbestos covered the pipes, pumps, and motors that helped run the ship. It was in the ceilings, walls, and floors. Asbestos was everywhere from bow to stern. Listed below are just a few of the asbestos products used on seagoing vessels:
- Boiler insulation
- Deck coverings
- Fireproof doors and hatches
- Packing material
Navy veterans who frequently came into contact with these materials during ship construction or routine maintenance could have been exposed to asbestos. Because below-deck areas have poor ventilation, Navy veterans working in these areas were at an especially high risk if asbestos fibers were disturbed and made airborne.
The Navy stopped producing ships ridden with asbestos in the early 1970s, but the vessels that already had asbestos still remained in use for many years after.
Given mesothelioma’s latency period of about 20 to 50 years, many Navy veterans are still being diagnosed with the horrible disease today. It is important for veterans to understand how they were exposed to asbestos during their service, so they can be prepared to take action now.
Simmons Hanly Conroy has been working with Navy veterans affected by mesothelioma for over a decade. We are familiar with the laws specific to military veterans, and we use our experience to fight for your rights. If you are a Navy veteran battling mesothelioma, please contact us today for a free case consultation.