Published On: Wed, Sep 10th, 2014

In the Navy: Were You Exposed to Asbestos?

With growing awareness about the dangers of having been exposed to asbestos in the past, more people are looking to seek a medical opinion to find out if their health has been affected.


Mesothelioma is a cancer directly associated with exposure to asbestos and if you found to be suffering from the condition, your mesothelioma prognosis will be heavily influenced by an early diagnosis and your overall state of health.

In the Navy

If you were in the Navy, you may unfortunately be one of the veterans who are at risk of developing mesothelioma.

Navy personnel and other members of the armed forces may have been exposed to asbestos while they were on active duty. Navy veterans and shipyard workers have been identified as a higher-risk group who were unknowingly exposed to high levels of airborne asbestos dust at regular intervals on duty.

Historical issues

The 1980s marked the end of the use of asbestos-containing products previously used on an extensive basis during the manufacturing process used to build Navy warships and submarines.

Warships were constructed using a wide range of products that contained asbestos. These products and fittings included items like gaskets, cables, cement, pipe-fittings and boiler insulation materials.

Military vehicles were regularly equipped with items that contained asbestos such as clutches, brakes and gaskets. Even the floor and plumbing systems within the manufacturing site contained levels of asbestos.

Exposure to insulation and airborne dust that was created from grinding and sanding as well as regular maintenance procedures, all helped to create what is now understood to be a toxic and potentially hazardous environment for Navy personnel to work in.

Shipyard workers

Navy veterans who spent their working lives building and maintaining warships are at a higher risk of mesothelioma.

Ventilation systems on the ships were often found to be very poor, meaning anyone working within the bowels of the ship was regularly exposed to highly concentrated levels of asbestos dust. This is especially so in areas such as the fire and engine and boiler rooms, navigation rooms, sleeping quarters and mess halls.

Long-term problem

Signs and symptoms of malignant mesothelioma can take 15 to 60 years to surface.

Asbestos could be found in virtually every area of a naval ship with the full extent of the damage caused to the future health of these workers has not yet been finalized.

If you are a Navy veteran and are showing signs of having respiratory problems or have a chronic cold or cough, you should share your work history with your doctor to ensure that they can quickly identify any possible asbestos-related health issues.

Katie Johnson has a diverse background in PR, journalism and digital marketing. She is focused on creating a unique community for family, friends or those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease.