Navy Veterans Exposure

Posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 at 2:12 pm    

Navy Veterans Exposure

russian submarine with torpedo on shore

Navy veterans have the highest risk of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis and/or asbestos related illnesses. They are the hardest hit by asbestos related diseases than any other branch of the United States Armed Forces. This is because Navy ships were literally loaded with asbestos.

The United Sates Navy had the highest demand for materials with fire proofing properties during the twentieth century and asbestos proved to be the most affordable and effective material available. Asbestos was used to insulate and protect ships and submarines.

Navy Veterans Exposure: Exposure sites in ships

Ship builders used asbestos for hundreds of applications on ships. Asbestos was found in engine rooms, boiler rooms, weapons and ammunitions storerooms and all places that were in need of heat resistance. Asbestos covered pipes, pumps, motors and compressors; all used to help the ship run. Asbestos was also used in the wall insulation and in the floors.

Sailors in warships slept in bunks below asbestos covered pipes, thus they would breathe in asbestos fibers as they slept. They would also shake off dust-like fibers regularly when they woke.

Personnel working below deck of ships had the highest risk of asbestos exposure. This was as a result of working where the most heat resistant asbestos was used; that is the boiler and engine rooms.

Navy Veterans Exposure: Away from Sea

Navy bases and barracks were constructed with asbestos and thus caused contamination to the area, and therefore exposed the Navy veterans while on land. One example is of a residential subdivision near Klamath County, Oregon which was previously a Navy base and barracks. It was cited to have asbestos contamination by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2011.

In shipyards, ships underwent an overhaul whereby the process often meant disassembling and reassembling the entire ship. Crew members of the ship lived and worked around this maintenance and were exposed to airborne asbestos fibers there.

Navy Veterans Exposure: A note to Navy Veterans

Navy Veterans Exposure - Navy hat

Navy Veterans Exposure – Navy hat

As a result of the decades between the period of exposure and surfacing of symptoms, Navy veterans need to see the importance of having regular medical exams and/or checkups. These exams will check for signs of any asbestos related diseases and allow for early detection.


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