Prior to being outlawed in the 1970’s in the United States, many shipyard workers including plumbers, insulators, electricians, painters and welders were exposed to asbestos while maintaining or building civilian or military ships. It’s only now that those workers are starting to show early symptoms of asbestosis and mesothelioma, aggressive forms of cancer that quickly rob them of their lives.
Asbestos was once the go-to mineral used for constructing ships as it was an effective insulating material, resisting heat and corrosion and preventing fires. During World War II, most navy vessels were constructed from bow to stern using asbestos. Such was also the case with the construction of cruise ships.
The use of asbestos in the shipyard wasn’t just limited to the boiler room either. It was used in the paint, on pallets, in the sleeping quarters and almost anywhere else on the ships. Any repairs that would need to be made on a ship were likely to disturb these microscopic fibers.
Once they became airborne, anyone within proximity of them was susceptible to breathing them in. After inhalation, the fibers become trapped in their lung tissue. Delivery workers were effected by this as well.
Asbestos use reached its height during the Vietnam War era. Asbestosis and other related conditions often take as long as 50 years to rear their ugly head. It’s only now that many who have been exposed to it are starting to experience the earliest stages of illness. Other shipyard workers are likely to continue developing signs of disease because these fibers weren’t properly contained or eradicated as they should have been.
Once signs of asbestos-related disease become noticeable, it’s almost always a career-ending situation. In circumstances such as this, Gulf Breeze attorney John W. Merting may advise you that you qualify to receive compensation for having lost the ability to work in your profession. Call the Law Offices of John W. Merting to discuss your potential asbestos case.