Newport News, VA is home to several asbestos exposure sites, which may have put workers at risk for mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Among the Newport News asbestos exposure locations are the Newport News Shipbuilders-Drydock, Franklin Printing Company, Riverside Hospital and Newport News Shipyard. Employees of these facilities may have been exposed to the harmful mineral which can cause serious health problems.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in the production of thousands of products including drywall, pipes, shingles, tiles, cement and even clothing. Because of its heat resistance and insulating properties, asbestos was also used aboard many naval vessels. In fact, asbestos use peaked during the world wars and the post-cold war era.
The Newport News Shipyard, as well as other shipyards across the country, used large quantities of asbestos in the production of naval ships. The mineral was used in hot water pipes, boilers, tanks and ceiling tiles, putting workers aboard the ships at risk for asbestos-related illnesses. Because the Newport News Shipyard produced a countless number of ships and used asbestos in numerous locations aboard these vessels, a wide range of workers, including pipefitters, plumbers and electricians, could have been exposed to the harmful mineral.
The Newport News Shipyard built a variety of ships including the following: USS Boxer, USS Coral Sea CVA 43, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS Essex, USS Midway, USS Nimitz and the USS Ranger, among others. The shipyard in Newport News also built the SS United States, one of the largest passenger vessels in the world. Those working aboard these ships may have inhaled asbestos fibers into the lungs or ingested fibers while eating. These fibers can remain in the body and later cause mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis.
Employees who worked aboard naval vessels built by the Newport News Shipyard are not the only Virginia workers who could have been exposed to asbestos. Because asbestos was used in a wide variety of products, a number of other workers could have been exposed. For instance, the Riverside Hospital and Franklin Printing Company located in Newport News have also been cited as asbestos exposure sites.
Newport News workers who were exposed to asbestos may not develop symptoms of asbestos-related diseases for several decades. The latency period for asbestosis, which causes scarring of lung tissue, ranges from 10 to 40 years. Individuals who develop mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure may not experience symptoms for up to four decades.Although the Newport News Shipyard and other asbestos locations in Virginia have undergone extensive cleanup to remove the harmful mineral, many workers have already been exposed. Individuals who suspect they have a history of asbestos exposure should schedule an appointment with their doctor to screen for asbestos-related diseases.