According to Lanier Law firm experts, nearly 250,000 people are killed worldwide from asbestos-related illnesses every year. Asbestos exposure can occur from using certain materials and tools in the workplace and shipyards are among these workplaces with the highest risks of asbestos exposure.
irstly, asbestos is a fibre bundle made up of a set of six silicate minerals found naturally on the earth’s surface. These minerals are chemically inert, robust, flexible, and odourless. They do not conduct electricity and are fire and heat resistant. Asbestos’ commercial and industrial attractiveness stems from these characteristics.
Regarding the issue, Emily Walsh, community outreach director for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, has also talked about the danger that asbestos poses in a previous SAFETY4SEA article. This mineral was commonly used for construction and building, but can set marine workers’ health at risk.
Most shipyards are now known to have exposed workers to asbestos for many years. Until asbestos regulations were updated in the late 1970s, millions of people working in shipyards handled or worked near asbestos. While these cases have been documented, there are likely many more that have gone undocumented
Workers at both naval shipyards and non-naval shipyards were exposed to asbestos. Navy veterans who served on ships or in shipyards were at risk of asbestos exposure. Civilian workers in Navy shipyards were also at risk.
The risks of exposure in modern shipyards are much lower in the past but still significant. While asbestos is don’t used as heavily, it persists in some materials and in many shipyards.
OSHA enforces asbestos safety regulations in shipyards, construction and general industries to protect workers from occupational exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos was used in hundreds of materials and components in ship construction and repair. These are some examples of asbestos components shipyard workers may been in contact with:
- Pipe insulation
- Spray-on insulation
- Other types of insulation
- Floor tiling
- Wall panels
- Boiler cladding
- Furnace firebricks
- Welding materials
- Safety equipment and protective clothing
Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive and deadly malignant cancer of the mesothelium, the thin tissue surrounding the lungs and abdominal regions. Mesothelioma is often diagnosed after it has reached the latter stages. Although mesothelioma is incurable, early detection and treatment by an experienced practitioner can improve treatment outcomes.
The most common type of mesothelioma, malignant pleural mesothelioma is cancer of the pleura, the tissue surrounding the lungs. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest Pain
Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is cancer of the stomach lining. The most common symptoms include the following: