National Submarine Day – The Dangers of Asbestos in Submarines

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center have discussed the dangers of asbestos in submarines

At one time, it was mandated that asbestos be used to insulate all ships and submarines made by the U.S. Navy. These products quickly degraded or became worn out, causing asbestos fibers to  became airborne where they could then become ingested or inhaled by the sailors working on the submarines.

When submarines were being built, particularly between 1920 and 1970, the United States Military used a large amount of asbestos-containing products in the construction of many Naval vessels, including submarines. Asbestos was not found to be toxic until the middle part of the 1970s and it had desirable properties for use on submarines. It insulated the submarines against the cold of the ocean, was cheap to manufacture, heat resistant, and an extremely versatile product to be used on all sorts of Naval vessels.

The dangers of fire were great on submarines — far greater than the danger on surface vessels. The U.S. Navy used asbestos on as many materials and products as possible because it was heat resistant and cut down the risk of a fatal fire on board a submarine under water.

The Navy made use of chrysotile asbestos for much of its insulation in the submarine and in products such as tape, packing materials and gaskets. Amosite asbestos was also used for insulating the submarines’ flanges, valves and water pipes.

To read more about asbestos in submarines please click here

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