From the period between the onset of World War II and the late 1970s, naval vessels were built with hundreds of components made up in part by asbestos. The material was extremely desirable to the navy ironically because of its benefits to safety on board military vessels. Resistance to heat, flames and chemicals ensured that any asbestos laced material would protect the vessel from the spread of fires that resulted from enemy fire or engine failures. From the deck to the pipes running through the vessel and even mortar that was carried on board, asbestos had a place in almost every area of most naval vessels.
When it was discovered that asbestos inhalation contributed to serious medical problems experienced by sailors decades later, the navy banned the use of materials containing asbestos unless no other substance could be used in place of asbestos to achieve the same results. Many of the boilers, capacitors, hydraulic assemblies and pipe used in naval vessels has been designed to last for over thirty years, however, meaning that some vessels may still contain components with high amounts of asbestos.
Removal of Asbestos Products in Naval Yards
As ships continue to age, the navy has expressed a growing concern over the inevitable need to remove components that are laced with asbestos because of the tendency for asbestos laced compounds to become brittle as they age. The removal of these components presents a danger in and of itself because asbestos particles will be kicked into the air by workers disassembling and replacing those parts with safer alternatives. It has been over thirty years since the navy banned the use of products with asbestos unless absolutely necessary; so many ships have needed to replace major components recently that contained high amounts of the substance.
At one time, asbestos could be found on almost any part of a naval vessel and sailors remain surrounded by pipes, valves and insulating material that may expose them to asbestos. Over many years, this exposure can cause conditions such as asbestosis, cancer and mesothelioma, which is a rare form of cancer that exists in the linings of our major organs. The prognosis for those who are diagnosed is very grim— only a very small number of those diagnosed with the illness will survive it and most die inside of two years.
Legal Right to Compensation For Military Personnel Exposed To Asbestos
Sailors who have inhaled asbestos fibers over years of service may not develop asbestosis or mesothelioma for decades after being exposed. Because their conditions are no fault of their own and the result of their service, they are entitled to seek compensation for their medical costs, pain and suffering and punitive damages if the commanding officers of their vessels knew of the dangers and failed to implement measures to limit or prevent exposure. If you or a loved one is now suffering from an illness related to asbestos exposure, it is best to speak with a mesothelioma lawyer sooner rather than later about your case.
Chicago Injury Center is a reputable law firm that represents clients who have developed mesothelioma or lost loved ones to the condition. We treat each case with great care and because no two cases are the same, we will take great care to investigate every detail of your case before proceeding so that we are able to collect the most in damages possible. We never charge our clients unless we are able to negotiate a settlement or win the case in court and we offer a free and confidential consultation so that we may review your case and inform you of your rights. Contact us today to find out how we are able to serve you and what steps we need to take next.