Navy Shipyard Workers/Yardbirds and Asbestos Exposure
There is a risk of developing a serious respiratory disease, such as mesothelioma, for navy yard workers because of the asbestos that was commonly used in U.S. Navy Ships. Yardbirds are civilian shipyard workers, and they also have been exposed to high levels of asbestos when they were building and repairing Navy ships.
Asbestos in Navy Shipyards
Navy shipyard workers who were employed during World War II and the years after had exposure to amosite asbestos, crocidolite asbestos and chrysotile asbestos, since these were all very commonly used in ship construction. Until the 1980s, asbestos was used in many materials to construct Navy ships, such as insulation in boiler rooms and wrap for steam pipes. Navy yard workers and yardbird did not wear a mask or respirator that would have protected them from inhaling asbestos dust or fibers. Yardbirds even earned themselves the nickname “snowbirds” because of the high amount of white asbestos dust that would cover them while they were working.
Navy shipyard workers and yardbirds are at risk for developing mesothelioma, which is a cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs or abdomen. Workers who were exposed to asbestos in the 1960s or 1970s may only now be experiencing symptoms since the latency period for mesothelioma is extremely long.