Between the 1930s and mid-70s, the Navy used asbestos extensively in shipbuilding, maintenance and repair, despite the well-documented risks associated with asbestos exposure in humans. Over 300 asbestos-containing materials have been used on Navy ships, thereby posing undue occupational hazards to the thousands and thousands of people who have worked on or around Navy ships.

Asbestos Exposure Cancer Risks on Navy Ships 

While asbestos is prized for its durability, flame and heat resistance, soundproofing, and insulating qualities, exposure to this material can lead to serious diseases including asbestos cancer. Asbestos has been used in virtually every shipping operation, from flooring and siding, to use in engine and boiler rooms, to gaskets, electrical work, and plumbing. In fact, this material was so treasured by the Navy, that it mandated the use of asbestos on all Navy ships in 1939.

That very same year, the Surgeon General publicized the risks of asbestos exposure on Navy ships, linking this material to asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer. Since this time, science has proven that asbestos can cause even more deadly diseases, including asbestos cancer mesothelioma and lung cancer. While these risks have long been known, the Navy continued to use asbestos on Navy ships, imposing serious risks on those who worked on and around destroyer ships, aircraft carriers, submarines, assault ships, frigates, cruisers, amphibious assault ships, and more.

Those who have served or worked on Navy ships have likely been the victims of asbestos exposure. Such exposure can lead to serious disease years down the line. Those who develop serious asbestos cancer diseases, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, may have the legal right to seek compensation for their losses and suffering.

Asbestos Exposure in Materials on Navy Ships 

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber, six types of which have been used extensively in navy ships and other commercial applications since the early 20th century. This material can be found in hundreds of products throughout the world. For example, the military is known to have used over 300 asbestos containing materials in the building of ships during the 1900s. The following are the six types of asbestos used extensively by industry:

  1. Chrysotile: Also known as white of green asbestos, is used in 95% of all commercial applications. However, it appears to be the least toxic.
  2. Tremolite: White and chalky tremolite has been an active constituent of industrial and commercial talc.
  3. Anthophyllite: Highly prized for its resistance to heat and chemicals.
  4. Crocidolite: crocodolite (aka blue asbestos or reibeckite) is believed to be the most toxic
  5. Amosite: Known as brown asbestos, this asbestos is often used in heat insulation
  6. Actinolite: One of the least commonly used, this type has poor resistance to chemicals.

Asbestos exposure while serving in the Navy is the primary cause of thousands of cases of mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer, and asbestosis among Navy veterans. Few personnel were aware of the risk of asbestos poisoning during their Navy service, but alarming numbers of veterans are now being diagnosed with asbestos cancer diseases that were contracted during WWII, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and peacetime service.

Dangerous Asbestos Navy Jobs

Because most ships built before 1980 have asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), the Navy personnel who served onboard or who worked in ports or the shipbuilding process were at a greater-than-normal risk of being exposed to high levels of asbestos. Navy jobs that were particularly dangerous with regard to asbestos include:

  • boiler room work
  • machinery repair
  • machinists’ mates
  • shipyard work
  • construction work
  • submarine work
  • insulation installers

Asbestos Exposure in the Air

Asbestos exposure was also common among individuals serving in the Navy in capacities that did not involve installing or repairing ACMs. Asbestos is prone to crumbling and breaking, especially when it is being manipulated and when it is deteriorating with age or from the weather. Anyone in the area when asbestos is crumbling is at risk of breathing in the airborne fibers of asbestos.

Merely spending time in an environment that has asbestos fibers in the air can be the cause of diseases such as mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Service time in shipyards, below deck, or in housing with ACMs was especially likely to result in asbestos-related illnesses, most of which don’t manifest themselves until years, even decades, after the asbestos exposure.

Asbestos on Navy Vessels

If you have served in the Navy aboard any of the following types of vessels, or if you helped to build or repair them, you should give some thought to your level of asbestos exposure in your Navy years:

  • aircraft carrier
  • battleship
  • cruiser
  • destroyer
  • frigate
  • submarine
  • patrol
  • amphibious
  • mine warfare
  • coastal defense

Learn about Navy Asbestos Exposure

Find out more about asbestos exposure in the navy and jobs that are already known for producing mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos diseases among veterans: contact mesothelioma treatment centers today.

List of Navy ships with asbestos exposure:




LST 542

SS President Harding

SS President Wilson

USCG Ingham

USCG Violet

USCG Winnebago

USCGC Androscoggin


USCGC Mendota

USCGC Northwind

USNS Private Elden H. Johnson

USS Abbot

USS Abraham Lincoln

USS Acme

USS Admiral Eberle

USS Admiralty Islands

USS Ajax

USS Alabama

USS Alameda County

USS Alamo

USS Albany

USS Albemarle

USS Albert W. Grant

USS Alstede

USS Altair

USS America

USS Ammen

USS Amphion

USS Andromeda

USS Angerholm

USS Antietam

USS Arcadia

USS Archerfish

USS Arcturus



USS Arenac

USS Arizona BB 39

USS Arkansas BB 33

USS Arnold J. Isbell

USS Ashtabula

USS Aucilla

USS Ault

USS Bache

USS Bainbridge

USS Bairoko

USS Baltimore

USS Barataria

USS Barb

USS Barbican

USS Bataan

USS Baussell

USS Beale

USS Beatty

USS Becuna

USS Begor

USS Benham

USS Benjamin Franklin

USS Bennington

USS Berkeley

USS Bethany

USS Beverly W. Reid

USS Biddle

USS Black

USS Blackfin

USS Blandy

USS Block Island

USS Blue

USS Blueback

USS Bluegill

USS Bonhomme Richard

USS Boston

USS Bowers

USS Boxer

USS Boyd

USS Briareus

USS Brinkley Bass

USS Brooke

USS Brown

USS Brownson

USS Buckley

USS Bulwark

USS Bunker Hill

USS Burton Island

USS Bushnell

USS Butler

USS Cadmus

USS California BB 44

USS Calvert

USS Cape Esperance

USS Capps

USS Capricornus

USS Carl Vinson

USS Cascade

USS Catfish

USS Cavalier

USS Charles Cecil

USS Charles F. Adams

USS Charles R. Ware

USS Charles S. Sperry

USS Chemung

USS Chicago

USS Chilton

USS Chipola

USS Cimarron

USS Claude V. Ricketts

USS Cleveland

USS Cliffrose


USS Colonial

USS Colorado BB 45

USS Columbus

USS Commencement Bay

USS Cone

USS Constant

USS Constellation

USS Coral Sea

USS Corregidor

USS Cowell

USS Croaker

USS Currituck

USS Cushing

USS Cutlass

USS Dace

USS Darby

USS Dayton

USS Decatur

USS DeHaven

USS Delta

USS Des Moines

USS Diphda

USS Dixie

USS Donner

USS Dortch

USS Douglas Blackwood

USS Douglas H. Fox

USS Duncan

USS Duxbury Bay

USS Eaton

USS Edisto

USS Edson

USS Elliot

USS Ellison

USS Endurance

USS Energy

USS English

USS Enterprise

USS Epping Forest

USS Erben

USS Ernest G. Small

USS Essex

USS Ethan Allen

USS Eugene A. Greene

USS Everglades

USS Eversole

USS F. D. Roosevelt

USS Fanshaw Bay

USS Farragut

USS Fayette

USS Firm

USS Fiske

USS Fitch

USS Flasher

USS Floyd Parks

USS Forrestal

USS Fort Mandan

USS Fort Snelling

USS Foss

USS Francis Marion

USS Frank E. Evans

USS Frank Knox

USS Fraser

USS Fred T. Berry

USS Frontier

USS Frost

USS Fulton

USS Galveston

USS Gearing

USS General JC Breckinridge

USS George A. Johnson

USS George Clymer

USS George K. Mackenzie

USS George Lukenbach

USS George Washington

USS Greenlet

USS Greenling

USS Greenwood

USS Guadalupe

USS Guardfish

USS Guitarro

USS Gurke

USS Gustafson

USS Hailey

USS Hale

USS Halibut

USS Halsey

USS Halsey Powell

USS Hambleton

USS Hancock

USS Hank

USS Harry E. Hubbard

USS Harry F. Bauer

USS Hartley

USS Harwood

USS Hector

USS Heerman

USS Helena

USS Henderson

USS Henley

USS Henry W. Tucker

USS Herbert Thomas

USS Hermitage

USS Higbee

USS Holland

USS Hollis

USS Hooper Island

USS Horne

USS Hornet

USS Howard Gilmore

USS Hummingbird

USS Hunt

USS Hunting

USS Huse

USS Idaho

USS Idaho BB 42

USS Independence

USS Independence

USS Indiana

USS Ingraham

USS Intrepid

USS Iowa

USS Iowa BB 61

USS Isherwood

USS J. Douglas Blackwood

USS J. Franklin Bell

USS Jallao

USS James C. Owens

USS James Madison

USS John Craig

USS John F. Kennedy

USS John Marshall

USS John S. McCain

USS John W. Thomason

USS John W. Weeks

USS Jonas Ingram

USS Joseph P. Kennedy

USS Joseph Tausig

USS Jouett

USS Julius Furer

USS Juneau

USS Jupiter

USS Kalinin Bay

USS Kearsarge

USS Kennedy

USS Kenneth D. Bailey

USS Kenneth M. Willett

USS Kenneth Whiting

USS Kermit Roosevelt

USS Kilauea

USS Kimberly

USS Kittiwake

USS Kitty Hawk

USS Klondike

USS Knapp

USS Knox

USS Krishna

USS Kula Gulf

USS Kwajalein

USS Laffey

USS Lake Champlain

USS Lakewood Victory

USS Lamar

USS Latimer


USS Leahy

USS Leartes

USS Lee Fox

USS Lexington

USS Leyte

USS Lincoln County

USS Liscome Bay

USS Little Rock

USS Loeser

USS Long Beach

USS Los Angeles



USS Lukenbach

USS Luzerne County

USS Luzon

USS Lyman K. Swenson

USS Lynde McCormick

USS Macomb

USS Macon

USS Maddox

USS Magoffin

USS Mansfield

USS Marias

USS Markab

USS Marquette

USS Maryland BB 46

USS Massachusetts

USS Massachusetts BB 59

USS Massey

USS McKean

USS McNair

USS Mellena

USS Midway

USS Mindoro

USS Mississippi

USS Mississippi BB 41

USS Missouri

USS Missouri BB 63

USS Mitscher

USS Moale

USS Monssen

USS Montague

USS Monterey

USS Montgomery County

USS Monticello

USS Mount Baker

USS Mount McKinley

USS Mullinnix

USS Murray

USS Naifeh

USS Nantahala

USS Narwhal

USS Nathan Hale

USS Nathanael Greene

USS Nautilus

USS Navarro

USS Neches

USS Nereus

USS Nevada

USS Nevada BB 36

USS New Jersey

USS New Jersey BB 62

USS New Mexico BB 40

USS New York BB 34

USS Newport News

USS Niobrara


USS Noble

USS Norfolk

USS Norris

USS North Carolina BB 55

USS Northampton

USS Northwind Staten Island

USS Notable

USS Nueces

USS Oberon

USS O’Brien

USS Observer

USS O’Hare

USS Oklahoma BB 37

USS Oklahoma City

USS Olmstead

USS Orca

USS Orion

USS Oriskany

USS Orleck

USS Outpost

USS Oyster

USS Ozbourn

USS Palau

USS Panay

USS Pandemus

USS Patrick Henry

USS Paul Revere A

USS Pennsylvania BB 38

USS Perkins

USS Permit

USS Perry

USS Phantom

USS Piedmont

USS Pinckney

USS Pine Island

USS Pinkney

USS Platte

USS Plymouth Rock

USS Point Barrow

USS Point Cruz

USS Point Loma

USS Polaris

USS Pollack

USS Pompon

USS Pondera

USS Portland

USS Prairie

USS Preble

USS President Adams

USS Princeton

USS Procyon

USS Protector

USS Prowess

USS Puget Sound

USS Putnam

USS Pyro

USS Queenfish

USS Radford

USS Randolph

USS Ranger

USS Rankin

USS Rathburne

USS Reclaimer

USS Redfish

USS Rehoboth

USS Renville

USS Rexburg

USS Richey

USS Richmond Turner

USS Roark

USS Robert A. Owens

USS Robert E. Lee

USS Roberts

USS Rochester

USS Rockbridge

USS Rodman

USS Rogers

USS Rupertus

USS Rushmore

USS Sacramento

USS Sailfish

USS Saint Paul

USS Saipan

USS Salem

USS Salt Lake City

USS Sam Rayburn

USS Samoset

USS Sampson

USS Samuel Houston

USS Samuel N. Moore

USS Sanctuary

USS Sarasota

USS Sargo

USS Scamp

USS Scranton

USS Sculpin

USS Sea Lion

USS Seawolf

USS Severn

USS Shangri-La

USS Shannon

USS Shark

USS Shasta

USS Shea

USS Shenandoah

USS Siboney

USS Sierra

USS Simon Lake

USS Skate

USS Skipjack

USS Slater

USS South Dakota

USS South Dakota BB 57

USS Spadefish

USS Springfield

USS Sproston

USS Steamer Bay

USS Steinaker

USS Sterett

USS Stickell

USS Stoddard

USS Stribling

USS Strong

USS Sturdy

USS Sumner

USS Surfbird

USS Swordfish

USS Tacoma

USS Talbott County

USS Talladega

USS Tallahatchie County

USS Tangier

USS Tarawa

USS Tawasa

USS Tecumseh

USS Tennessee BB 43

USS Terror

USS Texas

USS Texas-BB 35

USS The Sullivans

USS Theodore Chandler

USS Theodore Roosevelt

USS Thomas A. Edison

USS Thomas E. Fraser

USS Thomas Jefferson

USS Thomaston

USS Thompson

USS Thor

USS Thornton

USS Thuban

USS Ticonderoga

USS Tidewater

USS Timmerman

USS Tirante

USS Toledo

USS Tolovana

USS Topeka

USS Towers

USS Towhee

USS Trenton

USS Tripoli

USS Truxton

USS Tullibee

USS Turner

USS Tusk

USS Tutuila

USS Uhlmann

USS Union

USS Utah BB 31

USS Valley Forge

USS Vance

USS Venture

USS Vicksburg

USS Vogelgesang

USS Vulcan

USS Wadleigh

USS Wahoo

USS Waldron

USS Walke

USS Waller

USS Wantuck

USS Washington BB 56

USS Wasp

USS West Virginia BB 48

USS Whitehurst

USS Whitley

USS Wickes

USS Wilkinson

USS Willard Keith

USS William Seiverling

USS Windham Bay

USS Wintle

USS Wisconsin

USS Worcester

USS Wren

USS Wyoming

USS Yancey

USS Yarnall

USS Yellowstone


USS YO-116

USS Yorktown

USS Yosemite


USS Zelima

USS Zellars

Navy Asbestos Exposure (english) / Servicio en la Marina de Guerra (spanish)