Asbestos in the Shipping Industry

Asbestos in the Shipping Industry

There are several industries that have relied heavily on asbestos throughout the years. Construction, automotive, and even power-producing companies have utilized asbestos, although the industry that has resulted in the highest amount of asbestos-related disease is shipping.

Asbestos was first used 3,000 years ago as chinking for huts found in what is now Finland. Additionally, both Greeks and Romans utilized the substance, but it was primarily for cloth products that were easily soiled. For example, Romans used asbestos for napkins and tablecloths so that they could just throw them in the fire to clean them.

This material can survive being doused in the fire because it is a silicate mineral. Silicates are well-known for their insulating properties. They are resistant to heat, chemicals, electricity, and flame, and they are not very susceptible to biodegradation. This is why asbestos became so popular. Additionally, asbestos has the unique quality of having high tensile strength as well as flexibility. Thus, asbestos exploded in popularity during the Industrial Revolution.

Then, with the United States began to rely heavily on the shipping industry, this business picked up asbestos as well. The best example we have of this is the Navy. Although naval doctors reported asbestos-related health issues as early as the 1900s, naval staff still ordered the addition of asbestos to almost every single component of ships and submarines. It was used to cover boilers, insulate piping, and cover electrical components.

In 1943, the U.S. government issued regulation for asbestos in the shipping industry in order to help protect the shipyard workers who worked on Navy ships. It set standards for the ventilation of dusty, asbestos-laden areas as well as ordered that workers wear ventilators. Sadly, because this would have slowed down the shipping industry, these regulations were vastly ignored until the 1970s. Finally, in 1988, the Environmental Protection Agency issued the Asbestos Ban and Phase-Out.

It is important to recognize that asbestos is not inherently dangerous until it is ingested or inhaled. The dangerous part of asbestos is that age and abrasion can cause microscopic particles to be released into the air, where it can easily come into contact with humans. So, in closed atmospheres on ships, asbestos fibers can stay in the recirculated air and hurt many people.

Asbestos exposure causes a number of health issues, including deadly cancer called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma rates are supposed to peak in 2016, which means that people are still being diagnosed with this terrible disease.

U.S. Shipyards That Used Asbestos
  • Alabama Dry Dock
  • Albina Shipyard
  • Barbours Cut Docks
  • Bethlehem Steel Shipyard
  • Bremerton Naval Shipyard
  • Brooklyn Navy Yard
  • Caddell Dry Dock
  • Mare Island Naval Shipyard (California Naval Shipyard)
  • Charleston Naval Shipyard
  • Consolidated Steel Shipyards
  • Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard
  • Defoe Shipbuilding Company
  • Duwamish Shipyard
  • New London Naval Submarine Base (Groton Naval Base)
  • San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Hunters Point
  • Ingalls Shipbuilding
  • The Kane Shipbuilding Company
  • Willamette Iron and Steel Works
  • Kaiser Shipyards
  • Washington Navy Yard
  • Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company
  • Moore Dry Dock Company
  • Brown Shipbuilding
  • New York Shipbuilding Corporation
  • Newport News Shipyard
  • Todd Shipyards
  • Seward Ship’s Drydock
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS)
  • Orange Shipbuilding
  • Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard
  • San Diego Naval Shipyard
  • San Francisco Drydock
  • Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company
  • Tacoma Drydocks
Companies That Supplied Asbestos to Shipyards
  • National Gypsum
  • Johns Manville
  • GAF Corporation
  • Syd Carpenter Marine Contractor
  • John Crane, Inc.
  • McCormick Asbestos Company
  • Foster Wheeler Corporation
  • Owens-Illinois Glass
  • Willman Asbestos
Article Source:,!prettyPhoto,

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