Throughout the 20th century, tons of asbestos were mined in our country and put in thousands of everyday products. Asbestos was very inexpensive and was used as filler in many different products throughout many different industries. For example, asbestos was widely used in insulation of engines, boiler rooms, and pipes.
There are a number of different jobs where workers were exposed to a large amount of asbestos on a very frequent basis. People who have worked as Merchant Marines may have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma cancer due to asbestos exposure on the jobsite.
Merchant Marines fleets are responsible for the import and exports of the United States and work on civilian-owned ships, but during times of war, these individuals are called upon to support the Navy in wartime. During World War II when asbestos use was at its peak, Merchant Marines delivered supplies and troops for the military.
Asbestos, a group of minerals that gained popularity for being a strong insulator that was resistant to corrosion, heat and fire, was heavily used aboard ships as insulation. Asbestos was used on Merchant Marines vessels to insulate boilers, engines, piping, furnaces, and sleeping quarters as well as in many materials used to construct the ship itself. Mariners who worked directly with the installation, repair and running of engines, boilers, pumps, generators and pipes may be at greater risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases as these roles on the merchant marine ship often required them to handled asbestos materials directly.
As these merchant marine fleets navigated waters, many of the asbestos materials began to break down, releasing asbestos dust in the air. All merchant marines and Navy personnel on these ships were at risk of asbestos exposure, as the inadequate ventilation aboard ships caused this dust to circulate in the air where the tiny asbestos fibers could be inhaled or ingested. Once the fibers get into our bodies, they become lodged in our internal tissue. The body attempts, in vain, to eliminate the asbestos fibers. Over the years the body's fight against these fibers can cause the buildup of scar tissue (asbestosis) and, in some cases, the development of cancer, including throat cancer, lung cancer stomach cancer, colon cancer, and mesothelioma.
Unfortunately, millions of people have been exposed to asbestos over the years. Only now are we able to see the disastrous effects of asbestos exposure in the workplace. Generally, it takes 10 to 60 years from the time of asbestos exposure until symptoms appear or mesothelioma is diagnosed.
Many of the companies have established trust funds to pay compensation to persons injured by asbestos.
If you have mesothelioma, or other asbestos-related injury, and wish to consult an attorney about your legal rights to compensation, CLICK HERE for a free consultation.