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Asbestos was used for decades in construction and shipbuilding. If you or someone close to you has worked as a drywaller, pipefitter, or in the Navy, you may have been exposed to harmful asbestos fibers. Learn more >

Mesothelioma is a deadly, elusive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. We provide free resources to help you understand diagnosis, treatment, and more. Learn more >

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Asbestos Exposure Locations

Unfortunately, because asbestos use was so widespread for so long, many people ran the risk of being exposed to unhealthy amounts of it prior to the late 1970′s. Occupational exposure, in particular, was the leading cause of human contact with asbestos. Those who directly handled asbestos and asbestos products, as well as those who worked in close proximity to this substance, are most at risk of developing an asbestos-related illness such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.

Occupational exposure, however, is not the only source of human contact with this material. People can be exposed to asbestos accidentally, as well, such as in the case of a building collapse or being caught in the aftermath of an earthquake. Some older buildings, including certain schools and residences, contain asbestos. Those who are inside of these structures on a regular basis may develop asbestos-related complications.

Occupational Exposure

There are a number of workplaces and occupations that exposed mass numbers of people to dangerous levels of asbestos. Of course, asbestos mines and processing plants were key locations of occupational exposure. However, a number of other work locations put workers in hazardous contact with asbestos. Power and manufacturing plants, shipyards, metalworks, and refineries were all prime locations for this incidental exposure.

Certain occupations, as well, put workers at much higher risk of asbestos exposure. The following are all jobs that carry with them an elevated chance of exposure:

  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Firefighters
  • Auto workers
  • Construction workers
  • Machinists
  • Shipyard workers

Many times, these laborers deal directly with asbestos-containing products, such as insulation or other job-related materials and products.

Exposure in the U.S. Armed Forces

Asbestos was widely used in a number of products and applications used by the U.S. Armed Forces for many years. In particular, Navy veterans who worked onboard warships and with the following items likely came into contact with elevated levels of asbestos:

  • Insulation
  • Steam pipes
  • Cement
  • Hot water piping
  • Gaskets
  • Brakes and clutches
  • Boilers, turbines, and generators

This means that those who spent the majority of their time under the deck in low-ventilation rooms, working on ship processes, likely inhaled very dangerous amounts of asbestos. Those who worked in shipyards on these products also exposed themselves to dense amounts of asbestos.

However, the Navy is not the only branch of the Armed Forces that exposed its members to asbestos products. All sectors – Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Army – all utilized unsafe, asbestos-containing items and insulation.

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