As an important player in the shipbuilding industries of the US during the last century, Penn Shipbuilding employed thousands of Americans at any given time. In 1977, the company purchased the Sun Shipbuilding outfit. This acquisition positioned it to remain a dominant force until the 1990’s. After this, the facility was mainly used to maintain and revamp boats that had been created years before. The company also began to focus on smaller to medium sized vessels, creating a niche for its business model.
During the early and middle part of the 20th century, shipbuilding practices commonly included the use of asbestos. The material could be mined locally in most parts of the country, and purchased at low costs. That, combined with the fact that it is highly resistive to dangerous chemicals and high heat made it an ideal solution for many situations. Boiler rooms were one of the most common places that utilized the material for insulation. It was often sprayed onto walls and ceilings as a way to fireproof boats.
Workers who were exposed to asbestos may have actually inhaled the dust or other fine particles. Doing so would be dangerous, considering that mesothelioma and a variety of other diseases are directly related to the known carcinogen. After years of being trapped within a shipyard a former employee may start to develop symptoms decades later. This is particularly dangerous since most people are unable to remember or link their exposure to any current problems.
Across the US, it is thought that the numbers of actual victims of mesothelioma is under reported. Many previous employees at shipbuilding facilities were exposed to asbestos on a regular basis. Their chances of developing a related disease are greatly advanced, compared to people who have not had much exposure. Since it can take decades for any complications to develop, most people don’t inform their doctors of previous exposure. This severely limits the chances of being properly diagnosed, and getting the necessary treatment.
Shipyard workers at facilities across the US and other countries were commonly exposed to asbestos. Since the material is directly linked with mesothelioma and other diseases, they may be at increased risk of complications.