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Tongue Point Naval Base, Oregon

Tongue Point Naval Base near Astoria, Oregon was founded in 1921 and remained active until 1962. It began as a base for submarine and Navy destroyer ships, but was later modified to accommodate naval aircraft. After World War II, it was modified again so that ships could be docked at the site. Today it is officially designated as a Formerly Used Defense Site, which means it may be cleaned and restored – likely for commercial use – in the future.

Unfortunately, this cleanup is too late to help men and women who worked at the Tongue Point Naval Shipyard before it was deactivated. Between the 1930’s and the 1970’s, the Navy used the toxic mineral asbestos extensively in the construction and repair of ships, submarines, buildings, and more. Any veteran or civilian who worked on a Navy shipyard during that time period was at risk for exposure.

Asbestos and the Tongue Point Naval Base

Its low costs and high durability made asbestos very popular as a construction material for much of the 20th century. Shipyard workers could be exposed to asbestos in many ways, such as working with or living around:

  • Piping and wiring insulation
  • Brakes and clutches
  • Cement
  • Sheet metal
  • Floor coatings in ships and submarines

When materials containing asbestos are handled or begin to decay, small but sharp asbestos fibers can be released into the air. If these fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can cause serious harm to the lungs or other internal organs. Over time, this damage can begin to progress, and may even develop into lung cancer, asbestosis, or mesothelioma.

Asbestos-related diseases can take years or even decades to become symptomatic, which means that people who have been exposed to asbestos in the past are still at risk. If you or a loved one was employed at Tongue Point Naval Base or another shipyard prior to 1970, be sure to tell your doctor. This important information will help him or her properly monitor your health.

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