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Asbestos on Battleships

U.S. Navy battleships have historically played a strategic role during wartime and were used in both offensive and defensive roles. Unfortunately, many U.S. Navy veterans who served on these heavily armed warships were unknowingly exposed to asbestos throughout their tour of duty. Tens of thousands of people may have been exposed to these harmful materials during their time aboard one of the dozens of battleships. For example, the USS Alabama alone held as many as 2,300 passengers at a time during war.

Several areas of these battleships, such as the engine and boiler rooms, were constructed with asbestos to make them fireproof. Repair or maintenance work in these areas often resulted in the creation of airborne asbestos dust. Anyone breathing in concentrated amounts of asbestos over a prolonged period of time, like Navy veterans who served on U.S. battleships, is at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases even decades after exposure.

Name Hull Class Commissioned Fate
USS Alabama BB-60 South Dakota 8/16/1942 Museum Ship
USS Arizona BB-39 Pennsylvania 10/17/1916 Sunk, 1941
USS Arkansas BB-33 Wyoming 9/17/1912 Sunk, 1946
USS California BB-44 Tennessee 8/10/1921 Sold for Scrap, 1959
USS Colorado BB-45 Colorado 8/30/1923 Sold for Scrap, 1959
USS Delaware BB-28 4/4/1910 Sold for Scrap, 1924
USS Florida BB-30 9/15/1911 Sold for Scrap
USS Idaho BB-24 4/1/1908 Sunk, 1941
USS Idaho BB-42 New Mexico 3/24/1919 Sold for Scrap
USS Indiana BB-58 South Dakota 4/30/1942 Sold for Scrap
USS Iowa BB-61 Iowa 2/22/1943
USS Kansas BB-21 4/18/1907 Sold for Scrap
USS Maryland BB-46 Colorado 7/21/1921 Sold for Scrap
USS Massachusetts BB-59 South Dakota 5/12/1942 Museum Ship
USS Michigan BB-27 1/4/1910 Sold for Scrap
USS Minnesota BB-22 3/9/1907 Sold for Scrap
USS Mississippi BB-23 2/1/1908 Sold to Greece
USS Mississippi BB-41 New Mexico 12/18/1917 Sold for Scrap
USS Missouri BB-63 Iowa 6/11/1944 Museum Ship
USS Nevada BB-36 Nevada 3/11/1916 Sunk, 1948
USS New Hampshire BB-25 3/19/1908 Sold for Scrap
USS New Jersey BB-62 Iowa 5/23/1943
USS New Mexico BB-40 New Mexico 5/20/1918 Sold for Scrap, 1947
USS New York BB-34 New York 4/15/1914 Sunk, 1948
USS North Carolina BB-55 North Carolina 4/9/1941 Museum Ship
USS North Dakota BB-29 Delaware 4/11/1910 Sold for Scrap, 1931
USS Oklahoma BB-37 Nevada 5/2/1916 Sunk, 1941
USS Pennsylvania BB-38 Pennsylvania 6/12/1916 Sunk, 1948
USS South Carolina BB-26 3/1/1910 Sold for Scrap
USS South Dakota BB-57 South Dakota 3/20/1942 Sold for Scrap
USS Tennessee BB-43 Tennessee 6/3/1920 Sold for Scrap, 1959
USS Texas BB-35 New York 3/12/1914 Museum Ship
USS Utah BB-31 8/31/1911 Sunk, 1941
USS Vermont BB-20 3/4/1907 Sold for Scrap
USS Washington BB-56 North Carolina 5/15/1941 Sold for Scrap, 1961
USS West Virginia BB-48 Colorado 12/1/1923 Sold for Scrap
USS Wisconsin BB-64 Iowa 4/16/1944 Museum Ship
USS Wyoming BB-32 Wyoming 9/25/1912 Sold for Scrap

Author: Tara Strand

Senior Content Writer

Tara Strand

Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli

Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their Families

Jennifer R. Lucarelli

National Maritime Initiative. Warships Associated With World War II in the Pacific: USS Alabama. Updated August 2000.

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