Maritime workers are particularly vulnerable to asbestos exposure

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2021 | asbestos

Louisiana’s many bodies of water are part of its rich cultural heritage and thus why maritime work is so big in the state.

 There are inherent risks associated with maritime work, though. They go far beyond water-related or vessel operations dangers. Maritime workers also face significant exposure risks to such harmful substances as asbestos.

What asbestos exposure risks do maritime workers face?

There was an uptick in shipbuilding during World War II. Asbestos was one of many go-to materials used by shipbuilders for constructing these vessels. They used it for fireproofing, as insulation, as a component in wall panels and floor tiles and protective gear. Its strength, heat and fire-resistant properties, low cost, flexibility and light weight were all motivators for shipbuilders to use asbestos-laden materials.

Federal regulators had instituted limitations on how asbestos could be used by the time the 1970s rolled around after discovering these fibers were potentially harmful. Many shipbuilders, repairpersons, plumbers, engine and boiler workers and others who worked aboard water vessels contracted mesothelioma, which is an untreatable form of cancer that affects the lungs and abdominal cavity. This condition afflicted workers in both private and naval shipyards.

While regulators are hopeful that limiting shipbuilders’ exposure to these substances may have reduced current workers’ risks, countless others who didn’t protect themselves before asbestos was deemed harmful are turning up sick. So too are current shipbuilders who aren’t informed about the risk of asbestos exposure or haven’t received protective equipment. Current workers most vulnerable to asbestos exposure include those who maintain or repair water vessels or replace asbestos-laden ones.

Dangers associated with asbestos exposure

Asbestos exposure can leave a maritime worker with a terminal illness such as mesothelioma. The effects of asbestos exposure don’t often rear their ugly head until years after a person’s exposure to the harmful fibers. Doctors often diagnose mesothelioma once a patient’s condition is at an advanced state when any curative approaches aren’t viable.

Louisiana law may allow you to recover compensation if you’re suffering from this deadly condition. You may want to browse the information here on our website for additional information about your rights in your case.