Naval Weapons Station Earle, New Jersey
Naval Weapons Station Earle, located in Sandy Hook Bay, New Jersey, began its history as the Naval Ammunition Depot Earle in 1943. It is named after Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, who served as the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance during World War I. During World War II, ships came to this base to receive loads of weapons and ammunition. To this day, weapons are stored and renovated at this base.
The men and women who have contributed to the efforts at Naval Weapons Station Earle all deserve respect. Sadly, they have not always received it. Despite knowing its dangers, the US government chose to use asbestos extensively in the construction and maintenance of Navy ships and supplies. As a result, anyone who lived or worked on a naval base prior to 1970 is at risk for asbestos-related illnesses.
Asbestos Exposure in the Navy
Asbestos was once a very popular substance in the US Navy. This was primarily due to the fact that it is relatively cheap, and it is highly durable. Asbestos could be found in a wide variety of materials, including:
- Insulation in buildings and ships
- Sheet metal
Anyone who handled these materials on a regular basis was at risk for inhaling asbestos dust. This dust is composed of small but sharp fibers that can severely damage the lungs and other internal organs. Over time, this damage can progress into major conditions such as the cancer mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma and Navy Veterans
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions, such as lung cancer or asbestosis, can take years to become symptomatic. As a result, many Navy veterans from World War II and the Korean War are only now being diagnosed with these illnesses. Many of them were exposed to asbestos without protection or warning while serving in the US Navy.
If you or a loved one lived or worked on a naval base prior to 1970, it is important to make sure your doctor has this information. He or she can then monitor your health for any repercussions this exposure may have caused.