20th Century Naval Veterans Were Exposed to Asbestos for Decades
Asbestos is well-known for its fire proofing capabilities, which naturally was a desirable property on Navy vessels. Unfortunately, this fact led to Navy ships being constructed with toxic asbestos from the 1930s until the early 1970s, when the Navy finally stopped outfitting ships with asbestos.
The end result of the Navy’s decades of asbestos use in Navel vessels and shipyards is that no other branch of the military is more at risk for asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma. Worse, many workers and veterans of California’s own Long Beach Naval Shipyard were exposed to asbestos at the naval site in worrisome numbers.
Long Beach Naval Shipyard’s Asbestos Exposure
A 1979 study on employees of the Long Beach Naval Shipyard took a closer look at the health of over 6,600 shipyard employees. This large study of employees investigated the health of nearly 88% of the shipyard’s total staff members, who had a chest ray to discern whether their asbestos exposure resulted in illness or abnormalities.
The findings of the study found abnormal chest X-rays in over 1,000 workers, and almost 17 percent of male workers had chest X-rays indicating asbestos was inhaled. Worse, almost 38 percent of workers 65 and older had abnormalities related to asbestos.
An additional 37 percent of employs who worked at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard when they were between the years of 22 and 26 had abnormal chest X-rays indicating asbestos abnormalities. In total, 16% of all the workers in the study tested positive for abnormalities in their chest X-rays, a stunning showing that 1 in 6 workers studied may have been negatively impacted by asbestos.
While the Long Beach Naval Shipyard was officially closed down in 1997, the lingering effects of asbestos-related illness from Navy shipyards has harmed too many of our nation’s veterans.
Asbestos Has Taken a Toll on Our Veterans
In fact, an alarming 30% of Americans who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis from their physician or medical provider are United States military veterans who were exposed to toxic asbestos while on active duty. It is Navy veterans who are most at risk among all veterans since well over 4 million Americans and military service members spent the years of WWII serving their country in shipyards across the country.
During this period and into the early 1970s, high asbestos levels were found on Navy vessels and throughout the shipyard. The long latency period from asbestos exposure to a mesothelioma diagnosis can be as long as 50 years. As such, it is quite possible there will be more veterans who are diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure from the 1960s.
If you are a Navy veteran or served in any other branch of the armed forces at a Naval shipyard, a mesothelioma diagnosis may have been caused by asbestos exposure. If you have reason to believe this is the case, talk to a California asbestos and mesothelioma lawyer to find out whether you are eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.
Contact us for a legal consultation with a California asbestos and mesothelioma lawyer who fights to ensure veterans receive the compensation they deserve for serving our country.