Located in the Gulf of Mexico’s warm climate, the Tampa Bay Shipbuilding yard has been one of the most important ship producing ports in all of the United States. During both World Wars, the shipyard became one of the most dominant producers of large ships. Though asbestos was economically beneficial, many workers now find themselves sick due to direct exposure to asbestos, which may have caused mesothelioma or other diseases.
Today, the Tampa Bay Shipbuilding yard remains extremely active. Though building ships for war is no longer its focus, large vessels are still produced for a variety of clients. Many clients are regional, mainly because access to the ship yard is very easy from any of the other ports located within the Gulf of Mexico. Military repairs make up part of the shipyard’s regular operations as well. Although the U.S. Navy only commissions a few boats to be built every few years, older vessels must be maintained, re-outfitted, and modernized, which Tampa Bay Shipbuilding also does.
Workers employed at this yard up until the 1970s were likely subjected to conditions that involved asbestos exposure. As a result, many of these workers were or continue to be affected by mesothelioma. Because it takes years, or even decades, for the disease to present itself, many shipyard workers haven’t made the connection between their illness and their previous work. However, this is not a problem that is unique to the Tampa Bay Shipyard, as workers at facilities across the world have been diagnosed with this deadly disease.
Occurring in the abdomen, heart, and lungs, mesothelioma is the direct result of extensive exposure to asbestos. Employees who worked at the ship yard in Tampa Bay or other shipbuilding centers remain at increased risk of developing the deadly condition today. The disease can take decades to be diagnosed, making it far deadlier than those that can be diagnosed early. Proper testing is essential for people who have previously worked in this particular industry. By informing doctors, ship yard workers can get the diagnostic tests necessary to determine if they have mesothelioma.
Early detection is deemed the most important step to treating the disease. The further mesothelioma has progressed, the fewer treatment options that are available. By connecting this cancer with previous exposure at work, employees can then identify possible symptoms of the disease earlier, improving their chances of beating this cancer.