Traditionally, a frigate is a small, sturdy warship that has all its weapons on the top deck. Larger ships-of-the-line, such as large battle cruisers, often have weapons on the upper deck and on a lower deck. Since the beginnings of modern navies in the 17th century, frigates were mostly escort vessels. In modern times, they’re also seek-and-destroy vessels. To accomplish this task, many frigates carry advanced guided missiles and other powerful ordnance.
The first American frigates, including the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides), set sail in the late 1790s. Later, the hazards of asbestos on frigates became widely known. Nevertheless, mostly because non-asbestos replacement materials weren’t available, the Navy kept using asbestos until 1975. This fireproofing and insuraling substance has been linked with a number of serious, and usually fatal, illnesses.
US Naval Veterans At-Risk for Asbestos Exposure Aboard Frigates
The young U.S. navy needed a fleet of sturdy, oceangoing vessels which had ample firepower but didn’t take as long to build as ships-of-the-line. Frigates fit that bill nicely. In later years, these needs meant that shipbuilders used substantial amounts of asbestos in frigates.
Areas of US Naval Frigates that Contained Asbestos
Sailors who worked on frigates in the following areas are especially at risk for asbestos exposure illnesses:
- Electrical Systems: Asbestos doesn’t conduct electricity and is waterproof. Therefore, most electrical wires are wrapped in asbestos-laced paper. This paper gets handled a lot and tears easily.
- Gas Turbines: Fire, both accidental and combat-related, is the greatest danger on board frigates. Asbestos is fireproof, and gas turbines generate more heat than almost any other ship system. U.S. Navy shipbuilders used asbestos extensively in engineer rooms, until 1975.
- Mess Halls: These areas don’t have extensive electrical work or pose significant fire risk. However, they do have lots of asbestos, usually in the walls, ceilings, and floor tiles. Asbestos-laced tiles are especially hazardous, since floors get walked on.
One microscopic asbestos fiber could cause cancers like mesothelioma and serious lung diseases like asbestosis.
US Naval Veterans with Asbestos-Related Illnesses Can Receive Compensation for their Injuries
No matter how much time passes between exposure and illness, these victims usually have legal options.
Most asbestos exposure illnesses are presumptively disabling conditions, under VA disability guidelines. These victims could also file defective product claims against the asbestos manufacturer, or a claim with a multi-billion dollar 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.
If you have any additional questions or concerns related to asbestos, check out our website and YouTube page for videos, infographics and answers to your questions about asbestos, including health and safety, asbestos testing, removing asbestos from your home and building, and legal information about compensation for asbestos injuries.
And if you believe that you were exposed to asbestos, or have been diagnosed with an asbestos illness, you could be entitled to significant compensation—money you could use to cover the costs of asbestos removal services, pay for medical treatment, and preemptively protect your physical well-being.
All without filing a lawsuit.
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