Bremerton Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Asbestos Exposure
Since 1891, the Navy has owned and operated facilities at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard. It was responsible for the overhaul, maintenance, upgrading, repair, docking and decommissioning of ships and submarines and support for technical and logistics. Today, Bremerton Naval Shipyard is known as the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF).
Get Help Now with Bremerton Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
If you or a loved one worked at Bremerton Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, a mesothelioma lawyer at Goldberg, Persky & White P.C. can help you with filing mesothelioma claims. Even if you are an attorney, we can help you as well.
Bremerton Naval History
Bremerton Naval Shipyard, also known as the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, was founded on the Sinclair Inlet at Bremerton, Washington, in 1891. It had originally been established as a Naval Station repair facility but became the designated Navy Yard Puget Sound in 1901.
During World War I, the construction of a wide variety of vessels – including 25 subchasers, seven submarines, two minesweepers, seven sea-going tugs, two ammunition ships, and 1,700 small boats – took place within the Navy Yard. By World War II, the Navy Yard primarily assisted in repairing battle damages to ships of the U.S. fleet and those of Allied forces.
Although shipbuilding was limited to smaller vessels with the greatest effort reserved for ship repair and upgrade, the Bremerton Naval Shipyard entered the wartime era as the only yard on the West Coast with facilities to handle large naval vessels. In fact, five of the remaining six battleships were sent to the Bremerton Naval Shipyard for repair after the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor.
The shipyard was designated the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard following World War II, and its primary tasks were to modernize aircraft carriers and convert conventional flight decks into modernized angled decks. As the shipyard entered an era of new construction, they began to build vessels, modernize carriers, and activate new ships when the Korean War arrived.
Bremerton Naval Shipyard was then established as a nuclear repair facility in 1965. Construction of vessels continued until 1979 when the Bremerton Naval Shipyard began to focus on overhaul and repair.
By the 1990s, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard became the prime center for recycling parts of older ships and using them as materials for the repair of other ships – even those containing nuclear wastes. By 1994, 10,588 civilian workers and 300 military personnel were employed by Shipyard.
Asbestos Exposure Within Bremerton Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Although the Bremerton Naval Yard became the largest shipyard on the U.S. West Coast after extensive growth, it also became one of the most toxic shipyards, littered with excessive quantities of hazardous materials and waste products known to be present in deadly levels. For instance – the use of nuclear materials on sub fleets resulted in complaints and substantial fines against the shipyard set by agencies from Washington State.
In addition to the use of nuclear materials, was the use of asbestos – a harmful carcinogen that has been linked to rare and life-threatening diseases. Unfortunately, prior to regulations around the 1980s, all naval vessels built and repaired among the Yard utilized asbestos in various equipment.
Some of the most common asbestos-containing equipment includes:
Asbestos Exposure at Bremerton Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
The yard also had numerous shops where thousands of Navy Veterans and employees used such asbestos-containing equipment. As a result, the following occupations face a higher risk of exposure to asbestos:
- Equipment mechanics
- Pipe coverers
- Plumbers Welders
Not only were such workers at risk – but those living within the general area were susceptible to inhaling and/or ingesting deadly asbestos fibers. Loved ones may have also faced secondary exposure as well. This type of exposure may occur when an individual unknowingly brings home such dangerous fibers on their work clothes, hair, and skin.
Despite shipyard owners’ acknowledgment of asbestos-related health risks in the 1940s, spokesmen of Bremerton argued that the information on the toxicity of the mineral (asbestos) was insufficient for anyone to be fully aware of its dangers. For this reason, action to protect workers, veterans, and civilians were delayed.
In 1990 an initial assessment was conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and by 1994 the Bremerton Naval Shipyard was declared a Superfund site – a program for severely polluted sites. The Navy developed a cleanup plan known as the “Record of Decision”. However, it still remains on the National Priorities List of the EPA.
The air quality agency has also distributed a fine of $300,000 to the shipyard for asbestos-treatment violations.
The large shipyard that now covers more than 1,300 acres has exposed thousands of individuals to asbestos – and effects of such exposure can take years to develop. If you or a loved one worked at Bremerton Puget Sound Naval Shipyard or served in the United States Navy, and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease – contact GPWLaw MI today as you may be entitled to compensation.