Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York
While it is now an industrial park, the Brooklyn Navy Yard – also known as the United States Navy Yard, New York – was once an impressively large and industrious Naval shipyard. It was purchased by the Navy in 1801, and reached its peak production during World War II. During this peak, the Navy Yard employed 70,000 workers who labored around the clock constructing Navy ships. It was decommissioned by the Navy in 1966 and later purchased by the state of New York.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard is considered a historical site due to the contributions workers here made to the US during both World Wars. Unfortunately, many of these men and women did not receive the full respect they deserved while employed here. Although the dangers of asbestos were known to researchers by the beginning of World War II, the Navy chose to expose its workers to this dangerous mineral without protective equipment or even a warning.
The Use of Asbestos at the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Asbestos is a naturally occurring, flame-resistant mineral that was once used to produce a wide variety of products. Materials used by shipbuilders that often contained asbestos between the 1930’s and the 1970’s include:
- Sheet metal
- Insulation for wires and pipes
- Floor coatings
- Clutches and brakes
While constructing new ships, workers often had to manipulate these materials in ways that released asbestos dust into the air. When this dust is inhaled, microscopic fibers can become trapped in the lungs, causing extensive damage and scar tissue. Over the years, this damage can cause diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
Navy Veterans and Mesothelioma
World War II was a period of peak production, not only for the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but for shipyards across the country. Unfortunately, it was also a peak period of asbestos use in construction. Many veterans of this war who worked in Navy shipyards are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other diseases related to asbestos exposure.
Unfortunately, nothing can undo the pain and suffering experienced by mesothelioma patients and their families. However, some Navy veterans who have asbestosis or mesothelioma are choosing to seek justice by filing claims against the organizations that failed to properly protect them.