Asbestos Used in Wide Variety of Products Including Sheet Packing
It is a widely recognized fact that asbestos has many beneficial qualities. The mineral is strong, durable and able to hold together in incredible heat. Furthermore, it is also a naturally fire resistant material. That is why it had so many varied applications for over a century in the United States. During this time it was mined both on land and under water and sold as an inexpensive and highly effective component for hundreds of manmade commodities.
Asbestos was especially useful in industrial settings, and one of its more common purposes was to create heavy duty insulation products. Sheet Packing was one such product that was commonly used to protect gaskets and valves within hot running equipment found on ships. It was purchased in bulk orders for naval vessels in particular. People who worked in shipyards or sailed on board these ships were subjected to spending a lot of time around items that were made from the mineral, which would have been fine had those products not contained poison. Today, Navy veterans exposed to asbestos on these ships are suffering the consequences.
Asbestos Fibers are Toxic and Exposure Can Lead to Asbestosis
Scientists who had been studying asbestos slowly began to realize the hazards it possessed. The mineral is toxic, and exposure to it has been linked to asbestosis, a respiratory disorder, and mesothelioma, a cancer that is caused by inhaling the tiny dust particles that tend to break off and become airborne. The Sheet Packing often needed to be altered to fit properly, and anytime it was sanded down, cut or modified, at least a small amount of the dust would be released. These particles were too small to be seen, so they may be thought of as trivial, but the reality was that even a trifling amount of it could turn into a serious health hazard. Mesothelioma has no cure, hence the chances of a patient going into remission during treatment are not high, nor is the average life expectancy long. There are some top mesothelioma cancer clinics in the U.S. that specialize in treating mesothelioma and that offer experimental therapies like photo-dynamic therapy, mesothelioma immunotherapy and brachytherapy along with more conventional treatments like mesothelioma pleurodesis.
Following the realization about the dangers of asbestos, commodities like Sheet Packing were removed from naval vessels. Much of it may still remain on non-military ships, and if so they continue to be a threat even now. At this point, this insulation is likely to have become brittle, which would allow for dust particles to break off with great ease. Hazardous items such as these must only be removed by certified personnel. The process is far too dangerous to be done by anyone who has not been properly trained to do so.
Ask Us About your Legal Rights
Were you a sailor or someone who worked at a shipyard during or before the 1970's? Then you may have been exposed to asbestos. Those who have can find out about their legal rights by requesting a copy of our informative brochure.