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U.S. Navy Ships Exposed to Asbestos

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The Mesothelioma Center at has provided patients and their loved ones the most update and authentic information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006. U.S. Navy vessels built prior to 1980 were laden with asbestos. exposure to asbestos aboard naval vessels caused many veterans to late develop mesothelioma and early serious asbestos-related conditions .
The Navy used the toxic mineral because of its affordability, tensile strength and immunity to heat and chemical damage. These properties made asbestos a beneficial insulation, fireproof and construction material. The Navy used it in about every part of each ship, from bow to stern .
More than 300 asbestos-containing materials were used in naval ships until the mid-1970s, when the health risks associated with asbestos became more widely known. Engine and boiler rooms, mess halls, navigation rooms, sleeping quarters and other common areas on Navy ships contained asbestos .
naval records from ship databases, letters, memos, compensate logs, war diaries and historic documents confirm Navy vessels used asbestos in many types of equipment .
In a 2019 quantitative appraisal of nuclear veterans and asbestos-related diseases, Navy personnel who worked as machinist ’ s mates, boiler technicians, pipe fitters, fire control technicians and water system tenders had the highest mesothelioma mortality rate of the 114,000 veterans in the study. The epidemiologic research was published in the International Journal of Radiation Biology .
Veterans suffering from illnesses caused by military asbestos exposure are entitled to disability compensation. There are besides survivor benefits for spouses when veterans die of service-related cancer .
To file a successful VA claim to receive these benefits, the claim must specify where, when and how the military asbestos exposure occurred. It ’ s not enough to have been in the Navy — the Department of Veterans Affairs must know precisely what asbestos materials caused the exposure .

Find a Navy Ship

Where was asbestos in your Navy ship ?

Years Active:
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Asbestos Location:

    Exposed to asbestos on the ? We can provide you with rid VA claims aid. Get Help now

    Navy Equipment with Asbestos


    Boilers are machines that render high-temperature, hard-hitting steamer on ships. They power the transport as it moves across the water and world power other significant machinery .
    prior to 1973, boiler manufacturers instructed the Navy to coat boilers with external insulation containing about 15 percentage asbestos. Boilers besides contained unleash asbestos packing and asbestos gaskets to manage heat .
    Boilermakers and early service members who tended to boilers on Navy ships were exposed to asbestos insulating material. facility or regular maintenance on boilers released clouds of asbestos debris. The close quarters and poor breathing increased the risk of asbestos exposure .

    Pipe Insulation

    A sprawl network of pipes carried steam and cold water throughout Navy ships. Asbestos insulating material wrapping coated the pipes to protect them and keep the steam system running at flower efficiency .
    The insulating material was made of feel wind covered by an forbidden wrapping of pitch. The felt layer typically contained 5 to 50 percentage asbestos. The pipes passed through sleeping quarters and fix halls. normal activities or compensate work caused asbestos fibers to become airborne, exposing everyone in the area to toxic asbestos dust .
    Any wrong to the pipe coatings required military service members to remove the previous insulating material and replace it with new wrappings. The work involved mixing dry asbestos with body of water to make new insulation coating. This activity released a lot of asbestos scatter .


    asbestos materials were used in mechanical pumps that powered numerous systems on Navy vessels, including inflame, cooling and bilge systems. Machinist ’ s mates maintained the pumps and were frequently exposed to asbestos when making repairs.

    Service members came in contact with asbestos insulation on the out surface of pumps and internal parts that contained asbestos. Most workers did not wear protective air masks or wet down the insulation before removal to help prevent fibers from going airborne .
    Machinist ’ south mates risked harmful exposures when replacing tire asbestos gaskets inside pumps. They released toxic fibers when using scrapers, cable brushes and other tools to remove refractory gaskets .


    Valves are mechanical devices that control the flow of liquids and gasses through a ship ’ randomness plumb. many types of valves used in machinery on Navy ships contained asbestos materials, including hard-hitting steam valves .
    The deadly mineral was perfective for insulating valves because of its resistance to heat, high pressure and chemical gasses. The valves were filled with asbestos tamp down and asbestos-containing gaskets. Asbestos insulation besides covered the outside surface of valves .
    Pipefitters, kettle operators and other Navy serve members were exposed to asbestos whenever they worked on valves. The valves required regular dismantling to replace old carry and gaskets. Disassembling the valves to remove gaskets and replace the pack released asbestos fibers into the breeze .

    Exposed to Asbestos in the Navy?
    Learn how to access benefits available to veterans affected by an asbestos-related illness .
    Get Help now

    Other Items Containing Asbestos

    • Insulating materials
    • Hydraulic assemblies
    • Grinders
    • Gaskets
    • Paneling
    • Packing materials
    • Tubes
    • Adhesives
    • Deck covering materials
    • Adhesives
    • Deck covering materials
    • Cables
    • Block insulation
    • Capacitors
    • Aggregate mixtures
    • Thermal materials
    • Bedding compounds

    Asbestos Remained On Ships

    Fewer products containing asbestos are found in Navy ships and shipyards today. But, despite growing public and governmental awareness, asbestos is still permissible if no other alternate is available .
    The Navy has taken action to remove existing asbestos from its ships. But, as the material becomes more brittle with age, removal becomes long-winded and could be more hazardous to worker health if proper safety guidelines aren ’ triiodothyronine followed .
    Despite the Navy ’ s removal of many asbestos products, the toxic mineral remains on ships today. As of January 2022, the Navy has approximately 490 ships both in active serve and the reserve flit. approximately 90 more vessels are planned or in the construction phase .

    Navy Veterans and Mesothelioma

    Scientific studies conducted over the past 30 years have cited the dangers of asbestos vulnerability. many military veterans have developed health problems caused by asbestos exposure .

    How Asbestos Exposure Occurs

    When unprotected workers inhale asbestos fibers, the fibers become embedded in the layer of tissue surrounding the lungs .
    Over the course of several decades, asbestos causes cellular and familial price that can cause tumor growth and the growth of mesothelioma cancer. Patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, the most common type of the cancer, rarely live more than two years .
    many of the sailors, officers and shipyard workers who developed relate diseases have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of asbestos products used on Navy ships .
    Veterans do not sue the Navy, but rather the companies that made asbestos products. many of these cases have been successful and have allowed those with asbestos-related diseases to recover medical expenses and lost wages .

    Navy Ships Exposed to Asbestos

    Asbestos contamination was not limited to one specific class of vessel. Asbestos was found in everything from destroyers to aircraft carriers .

    Diagram of of asbestos exposure risk levels in U.S. navy ships

    Risk Areas for Asbestos Exposure on Naval Ships

    Aircraft Carriers

    aircraft carriers are warships designed to deploy and recover aircraft at ocean. This allows the Navy to launch airpower cosmopolitan without depending on nation bases. The inaugural of the Navy ’ randomness aircraft carriers were built less than a decade after the world ’ mho first manned airplane flight in 1903 .
    Since World War II, aircraft carriers have remained active in the Navy. The United States has used at least one aircraft carrier in more than 80 percentage of responses to international conflict .

    Auxiliary Ships

    Auxiliary Ships
    auxiliary ships ensure the Navy maintains a impregnable, well-equipped and effective naval fleet. These vessels are chiefly creditworthy for replenishing ships with supplies and repairing damaged ships in struggle .


    Cruisers are large combat ships with a phone number of different designations, designs and roles. Armored cruisers and light cruisers primarily perform convoy duties. They escort troops, merchant ships and cargo men across the sea. Modern guided projectile cruisers perform more combatant duties .


    Destroyers are fast warships that originated to defend against modest bomber boats. Destroyers have evolved and are now capable of a numeral of dysphemistic and defensive operations. They perform operations both independently and aboard other ships .


    Minesweeper ship
    Minesweepers are humble naval warships designed to counter the terror of sea mines. These vessels keep waterways clearly of mines to protect early allied warships and merchant ships. They besides clear paths for warships to engage in battle and safely launch amphibious landing craft.


    Submarines are an essential depart of the U.S. Navy. Each ship categorization was built for similar, but different roles. Some are designed for destroying enemy submarines and warships. Others are built to house long-range nuclear missiles for strategic deterrence .

    Past Occupational and Safety Issues

    In 1999, the Navy consider with the particular risks of handling asbestos on put out ships with the follow policy on its Readiness and Care of Inactive Ships manual :
    050-7.2.7 Handling and Removal of Asbestos Materials. Past naval shipbuilding programs have included extensive practice of asbestos materials for shipboard installations such as thermal insulating material and pack of cards tile. occasionally, shipboard stores and consumable supplies left on demobilize ships include asbestos materials. It is incumbent on all personnel to familiarize themselves with the hazards of asbestos materials and condom procedures as mention herein. Commanding Officers will ensure that all hands are indoctrinated in safe handle procedures for asbestos materials .

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