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U.S. Navy Asbestos Exposure

From the 1920s until the mid-1970s, thousands U.S. naval ships were outfitted with parts or materials containing asbestos. As a result, millions of veterans of the U.S. Navy and merchant marines who served on these ships were exposed to asbestos, placing them at risk of a number of serious and potentially deadly diseases.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once widely used for insulation or fireproofing. For decades, asbestos materials were used in a number of parts aboard U.S. naval vessels, including pipe coverings, gaskets, deck coverings, brakes, clutches and other engine room components. At least 298 asbestos-containing products were used onboard U.S. Navy ships.

When the asbestos fibers contained in these products were damaged, they could become airborne. Inhaling or otherwise ingesting asbestos fibers placed millions of naval veterans at risk of mesothelioma—a deadly form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen—as well as lung cancers, asbestosis and other forms of cancer.

Shipyard workers who helped build one of the thousands of ships used during World War II were almost as likely to die from mesothelioma as they were to die in combat. While approximately 18 out of every 1,000 U.S. naval servicemen during WWII died in combat, as many as 14 out of every 1,000 shipyard workers during the Second World War died from mesothelioma. Thousands more may have died from lung cancer, asbestosis or other types of cancer as a result of asbestos exposure during their years in the Navy.

Although the U.S. government knew about the dangers of asbestos exposure as early as 1922, the Navy continued building ships with asbestos-containing materials as late as the 1970s. And while the government issued asbestos safety standards in 1943 to protect those who built or repaired naval vessels, it failed to start enforcing these regulations until decades later, jeopardizing the health of millions of naval veterans.

If you served in the United States Navy or worked in shipyard construction and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer or another form of cancer, contact the law office of Hissey Kientz to learn more about your legal rights. You can speak with one of our representatives by calling us toll-free at (866) 275-4454, or by filling out a free case evaluation form to the right of this page.

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