During, and in the years following World War II, the use of asbestos on United States ships increased exponentially as large amounts of asbestos containing materials were used by shipyards as they constructed, overhauled and decommissioned ships. Boiler and engine rooms typically had the highest amounts of asbestos exposure as thermal insulation and refractory products that were laden with asbestos was used on these high heat areas. Miles of asbestos insulated pipe covering ran throughout the ships including in crew areas such as bunks and kitchens. Typically, crews lived and oversaw work that occurred during routine maintenance and dry dock repairs, further increasing their risk of asbestos exposure.
Navy veterans were not the only service members who were likely to come in contact with asbestos. Asbestos containing brake linings, gaskets and clutch materials were used on military equipment and vehicles and asbestos containing joint compound, floor tile and other construction products were used in the construction and renovation of barracks and other service-related buildings. In all these scenarios, Veterans were unknowingly exposed to asbestos by manufacturers who consistently placed profits over safety.