Retired shipyard workers are some of those most at risk for developing mesothelioma, due to their past asbestos exposure while on the job. In fact, during the 1990s in America, shipbuilding and repair was the #2 industry specified on death certificates of adult asbestosis victims.
How were shipyard workers exposed to asbestos? According to Military.com, the toxic substance was built into nearly every ship commissioned by the United States Navy between 1930 and 1970. There were many chances for exposure to take place:
Building a ship meant handling asbestos-containing materials including paneling, pipe covering, adhesives, and more. In some cases, asbestos insulation was sprayed on. Shipbuilders and anyone near the spray-on substance is likely to have been exposed to tiny asbestos fibers.
Asbestos materials are not dangerous to be around unless fibers are being released into the air, where they can be inhaled or ingested by an individual. Taking apart ship materials and repairing damaged ones also put workers in shipyards at risk for exposure to these fibers.
As technology advanced and new ships were built, older ships laden with asbestos materials were decommissioned from service. Shipyard workers would dismantle these ships and dangerous asbestos fibers were released into the open.
Workers that are employed in shipyards today also face exposure, since so many ships made with asbestos-materials are still in existence. If you or a loved one has worked in a shipyard in your lifetime, it would be wise to alert a medical professional to your work history.
If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease due to your work in a shipyard, an asbestos or mesothelioma lawyer can help determine what rights you have as a veteran or civilian worker.