People who work in shipyards and naval stations, or live near them, can be exposed to asbestos, whether they are government owned or private. The fibers are not usually seen floating by casual observation, but they are there and everyone exposed is at risk to inhale or swallow these dangerous particles.
The city of Everett is home to one of the newer naval stations in the United States, Naval Station Everett – NAVSTA, built in 1984 near the Puget Sound Shipyard. It is the US Navy’s Washington base, with the naval facilities deemed the most modern in America.
Because of its large area of operation, the 52 acres house a fifty room navy lodge, as well as shops, chapels, naval offices, and quarters. Given the history of using toxic materials at the base, there’s a chance of asbestos exposure. Residents living near the naval station and workers risk possible exposure to toxic waste and asbestos related diseases.
Mesothelioma is a deadly disease that can develop from an exposure to asbestos. Normally those who have been exposed for a lengthy period of time are the ones most likely to contract the disease, although documentation exists to support cases developing in people who had low exposure. Typically a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma when a malignant tumor is found in the lining of the lungs; however the cancer can grow in the abdomen, testicles, and heart lining as well. It can cause fluid buildup, scarring, and inflammation when affecting the lung area.
Because mesothelioma has a latency period without symptoms, it is nearly always found in the last stage, making it extremely hard to treat and nearly impossible to cure. It is often diagnosed when a patient is in for an unrelated ailment or injury. The common symptoms are pain in the upper back, pain in the chest, dizziness and shortness of breath, all of which can be shared with other diseases. One or all symptoms can be present.
Naval Station Everett should be well-versed on asbestos issues. If an employee or naval worker voices concern or fear of risk to the employer, they may be given protective clothing or placed in an area of less risk to asbestos and chemical exposure.