What American occupations do you think are the deadliest? One might assume that our firefighters or police are the ones gambling with their lives daily against fires and criminals, but dangers on the job are not always visible. Toxic substances like asbestos have been silent killers for many different kinds of workers throughout history.
United States shipbuilders and repairers have been exposed to asbestos for decades, as it was built into almost every Navy vessel. The substance was used for insulation and fireproofing, and covered the ships from "bow to stern1."
Asbestos exposure can lead to fatal diseases, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. These diseases are often mistaken for other illnesses or do not show symptoms until decades later, long after military service has ended. As more shipbuilders and repairers lost their lives in the 1990's as a result of that exposure all those years ago, it became apparent that they have been among those with the deadliest jobs in American history.
Although the use of asbestos has decreased significantly since the 1950s, large numbers of ships and boats still contain asbestos to insulate boilers, pipes, gaskets and packing. Shipyard workers remain highly vulnerable to asbestos exposure during repair and overhaul activities.
Contact Brayton Purcell LLP to speak with an experienced asbestos attorney for navy veterans and shipyard workers.