The ports in the state of Washington are some of the busiest in this country. In fact, it even beats out California when it comes to ports that handle shipping, ship repairs, merchant transactions, and other activities related to the shipping industry. One of the busier places is Bremerton Naval Shipyard. This industry brings a lot of work to those who live in the Seattle area, but with this work comes the worry of hazards like toxic spills and fibers from asbestos that have been known to fly in the air in and around the shipyard.
Bremerton, Washington, outside of Seattle in the Sinclair Inlet, is the home of Bremerton Naval Shipyard. It was built in 1891. Its actual name is Puget Sound Naval Shipyard but it is more commonly referred to as Bremerton. It is part of the Naval Base, Kitsap, which also includes a submarine facility in Bangor, Washington.
This shipyard is the largest facility where larger vessels go when they need repairing or recycling. The U.S. Navy gave Bremerton Naval Shipyard the authority to create new processes and methods for recycling nuclear waste and the reactors that are removed from submarines that are nuclear powered. Another job at the shipyard is to recycle used parts from old ships to use in making repairs to newer ships. In the process of performing these recycling jobs, the workers at the shipyard have faced exposure to not just toxic waste but to the dangers of asbestos fibers.
Being exposed to asbestos is extremely dangerous. Someone who regularly inhales or ingests asbestos, no matter how small the amount, can develop a rare and deadly cancer called mesothelioma. This cancer often does not even appear until 20 years after the person has been exposed and the symptoms are often confused with those of other, less serious diseases. Because of this, mesothelioma is often not even diagnosed until the late stages of the disease.
People who have worked in shipyards may have used asbestos when working on boilers, pipelines, and as insulation and fireproofing throughout the ships. People who feel they could be at risk for developing mesothelioma should have a thorough physical examination and should also immediately seek medical assistance if they experience chest or abdominal pain. SWasince the cause of the pain could be mesothelioma, symptoms like this should not be ignored.