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Asbestos in Shipyards

Occupational exposure is the most prevalent form of asbestos exposure in the United States. One of the hardest hit areas of exposure is the shipbuilding industry. It has been shown that approximately 80% of those who worked in a shipyard or in the shipbuilding industry for more than twenty years have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.

During World War II, the United States produced a huge number of ships for the war effort. This period coincided with the peak era in the use of asbestos. As a result, individuals who worked on ships during World War II and afterwards were potentially exposed to huge amounts of asbestos. Because of the lack of widespread knowledge regarding the hazards of asbestos, many of these workers had nothing to protect themselves and their lungs.

Others who may have been exposed to asbestos include longshoremen. These hardworking individuals were likely to be working in areas of a ship with poor ventilation and asbestos fibers present. Until the 1970s, they were often responsible for loading bundles of raw asbestos fibers onto ships. Due to the lack of knowledge about the dangers of asbestos, there was little or no safety equipment in use.

Today the risk in shipyards to the worker is in refitting or refurbishing an older ship that was built prior to the realization that asbestos is carcinogenic. Asbestos fibers have a tendency to accumulate in poorly-ventilated areas of a ship, particularly those near steam pipes, boilers, incinerators, and other parts that may have been insulated.

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For more information on asbestos in shipyards and exposure to asbestos, please call 1-800-781-3955 to speak with an experienced asbestos attorney of Williams Hart today.

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