Sources of Asbestos Exposure / Asbestos in the U.S. Navy / List of Ship Classes / Asbestos on Cruisers
Like many surface warships, such as battleships, cruisers are not as prominent today as they were back in the day. Only the American and Russian navies currently deploy cruisers, which are smaller than battleships and larger than destroyers. Today’s cruisers are much safer than yesterday’s cruisers, since in 1975, Navy shipbuilders stopped using asbestos in cruisers and other oceangoing vessels.
Asbestos Was Used to Fireproof US Naval Cruisers
As far back as the Monitor and the Merrimack days, which were the world’s first two armored cruisers, these ships had big guns and big boilers. Fires, both accidental or combat-related, killed more sailors than direct enemy action. Shipbuilders used asbestos to reduce fire risk. Scientists knew about asbestos health hazards in those days. But that knowledge didn’t keep shipbuilders from using as much asbestos as possible.
US Naval Veterans Who Served On Cruisers Were Routinely Exposed to Asbestos
Asbestos use wasn’t limited to guns and engine rooms. Builders used significant amounts of this fibrous mineral in:
- Boilers, boiler linings, and heat shields,
- Ceiling and floor tiles,
- Deck coverings,
- Mess halls,
- Electrical coating,
- Engine rooms,
- Boiler rooms,
- Pump and propulsion rooms, and
- Crew living quarters.
Cruisers are large ships. But they aren’t that large. Just ask anyone who ever served on one of these ships. Since the risk of fire was everywhere, asbestos was everywhere, even in things like ceilings and floor tiles.
US Naval Veterans At Risk of Asbestos Exposure and Health Problems from Serving on Cruisers
Workers who wear protective clothing or don’t work close to areas with stray asbestos fibers in the air usually face little health risk. However, the Navy didn’t give sailors a scrap of protective clothing, and anywhere you went on a cruiser, microscopic asbestos fibers were probably in the air.
Frequently, private contractors serviced cruisers in dry dock. These workers were probably exposed to asbestos as well.
Both categories of victims have legal options. Service veterans usually file VA disability claims. Usually, benefits are retroactive to the date of exposure, or at least the date of illness. Non-servicemembers usually file defective product claims against asbestos manufacturers or petitions with an asbestos victim compensation fund.
AsbestosClaims.law is your comprehensive resource for all things asbestos, including info on health and compensation for Air Force Veterans and other former Service Members. We hope this is helpful and are grateful to all who have given of themselves to defend us all.
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