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Asbestos in Navy Shipyards

Naval shipyards were one of the largest users of asbestos-laced products in the United States stretching from the mid-1930s all the way to the 1970s. When these ships were constructed and repaired, whether in a private contracted shipyard or the Navy’s own shipyards, shipyard workers and military personnel were commonly exposed to asbestos.

Items in ships that may and did contain asbestos include asbestos-covered boilers, wall insulation materials, turbines for the engines, pipe coverings, gaskets, all manner of pumps, cement, and more.

There are currently records kept by the Navy relating to asbestos-containing materials that were used in the shipyards, whether for ship construction or ship repairs. These records are commonly used to investigate mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other cases relating to asbestos related diseases and illnesses.

The records kept by the Navy and other organizations tied to Naval shipyards have been useful in asbestos claims. Common items tied to exposure and later disease include instruments of all sorts, meters, paneling, insulating materials found throughout ships, tubes, cable, block insulation, pipe coverings, decking, glues and other adhesives, and a wide variety of other products. The enlisted positions most likely to be exposed to asbestos include boiler technicians, construction mechanics, damage controlmen, electronics technicians, fire control technicians, and enginemen.

Sites of possible exposure include:

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For more information about asbestos in Navy shipyards, please call 1-800-781-3955.

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