The Shipyard of Pearl Harbor is located on Oahu Island, a mere five minutes from the metropolis of Honolulu. Outside of the continental United States, it is the largest shipyard operated by the US. Though not as active as it was during the Second World War, the shipbuilding facilities remain important for the continued support of the US Navy’s many vessels.
Consisting of over one million total square feet of operational workspace, its historical presence made it one of the most strategically important facilities for US Navy operations during and after the Second World War. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the facility was revamped for massive shipbuilding efforts.
Today, the shipyards of yesterday are highly regarded for their purposes in protecting America. There is, however, one downside to these operations of the past. One material that was commonly used for insulating the various piping and boiler room apparatus was asbestos. We now know that this is the main carcinogen responsible for the development of Mesothelioma. Employees within many professions at this and many other shipyards have either died or become sick due to exposure.
Beyond Mesothelioma, there are a wide variety of other diseases that can be caused by asbestos as well. Exposure to dust and particles from the material make the likelihood of a person developing these illnesses increase dramatically. When inhaled, the asbestos particles accumulate in the protective membranes around the lungs, heart and abdomen. The human body has no means that allow it to get rid of the cancer causing substance. Over years, possibly decades, the disease slowly begins to present itself.
One of the most dangerous aspects of asbestos exposure is the long period of time it takes for symptoms to arise. Many victims have long forgotten that they may have had previous contact to asbestos. Those who directly maintained piping and boiler rooms are at risk, as well as those who may have been in the vicinity of those workers. While early diagnosis is considered the best way to increase life expectancy, many patients don’t realize that asbestos is to blame for their illnesses.
Individuals who have previously worked in shipyards up until the mid 1970s are at risk of developing Mesothelioma. Detecting the cancer early is essential for having multiple treatment options.