Why do maritime workers have a high asbestos exposure risk?
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Why do maritime workers have a high asbestos exposure risk?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2021 | asbestos

Many of the U.S.’s major cities are located near a body of water, including Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. One commonality that each of these cities shares is maritime traffic along their harbors or ports. 

There are countless workers employed in shipbuilding and other sectors. They work tirelessly to ensure that the water vessels that they’re responsible for are seaworthy. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that maritime workers are one of a handful of types of workers that have a notably high risk for receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis at some point in their lives.  

Which maritime workers are so vulnerable to asbestos exposure?

Several decades may pass from the time an individual is exposed to asbestos until they start experiencing noticeable symptoms that they’re unwell. Many World War II veterans employed in shipbuilding roles have experienced an uptick in their asbestos-related diagnoses in the past few decades. Many of these individuals gained exposure to this harmful substance when:

  • Installing insulation for energy consumption aboard ships
  • Donning protective gear
  • Fireproofing water vessels
  • Laying floor tiles or installing wall panels

A key component to manufacturing this equipment or building materials was asbestos fibers, giving way to these shipbuilders’ increased exposure to them. 

Federal officials didn’t accept scientific studies that showed how potentially harmful asbestos fibers could be until the 1970s when they finally started regulating its use. By then, marine and navy service members had already been exposed to this harmful substance, as had their civilian colleagues, including boiler or engine workers, plumbers, repairpersons and electricians.

Many maritime workers are still employed on ships built in this era. While personal protective equipment can protect them from inhaling these fibers nowadays, it’s not without flaws. Someone who unknowingly gains exposure to these fibers on the job may bring them home to their families, causing them to develop an untreatable form of lung cancer down the road as well.

While asbestos-related cancers are terminal, there are treatment options that are available that can potentially extend your life or alleviate the discomfort you might otherwise experience. You might be able to recover compensation to aid you in affording one of the many groundbreaking treatment options that exist.