San Francisco Naval Shipyard, better known at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, was extremely prominent in the shipbuilding industry on the Pacific Coast. Yet, the shipyard also relied heavily on asbestos use for numerous year. Eventually, a myriad of workers at the shipyard and residents in the area began developing life-threatening illnesses after prolonged exposure to toxic asbestos fibers and other contaminants.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard History
Founded in 1867 in San Francisco, California, Hunters Point Naval Shipyard was originally built on dry, serpentine rock, that contained natural asbestos. By 1916, the shipyard was not only first dry dock for commercial use on the West Coast, but also one of the biggest, with over 800 waterfront acres.
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard started out with shipbuilding and repair service duties, which lasted more than 100 years. In 1941, the United States Navy acquired the shipyard and renamed it the San Francisco Naval Shipyard. The shipyard continued shipbuilding and repairing throughout World War II, which included maintenance and modifications on submarines.
Continuing on during World War II, the shipyard repaired 600 support and fighting vessels. In the meantime, the Navy Radiological Defense Laboratory (NRDL) was created at the shipyard, for the purpose of decontaminating vessels involved in nuclear testing. This lasted until the late 1960s, when budget cuts closed the program down.
In 1974, the shipyard became an industrial reserve and gave control of the the site to the Navy Office of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion, and Repair. For the next decade, a portion of the site was used for repairing commercial ships.
The San Francisco Naval Shipyard/Hunters Point Naval Shipyard closed down in 1994 in connection with the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). Yet, the the toxins left behind included an exorbitant amount of asbestos as well as numerous other dangerous substances.
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Asbestos Issues and Environmental Damage
Asbestos levels at the shipyard were so excessive that in 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated it as a Superfund site. For numerous years afterwords, local organizations, residents, and other agencies worked endlessly to clean up Hunters Point. More than 200,00 tons of asbestos-containing building materials were removed from the site.
Due to the high contamination levels at the shipyard, area residents began having health issues, including a confirmed diagnosis of both mercury and asbestos in one resident’s bloodstream. A fire also broke out at the shipyard in August, 2000, causing more illness among area residents. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (ATSDR):
” Components (chemical and physical) released from the fire on August 16 could have caused short-term adverse health effects in those people exposed. Health effects could include burning, itching or watery eyes and sinuses, headache, nausea, breathing difficulty andasthma-like symptoms. Individuals highly sensitive to the effects would be anyone with previous respiratory conditions such as asthma or emphysema, children, and the elderly.”
During the 1980s, the city of San Francisco bought the shipyard site and turned it into a housing project for low-income families. Yet, no one reported the high amount of toxins and asbestos at the site, leading to the site’s inspection company being fined. Shortly after, residents were evacuated.
The site went through a renovation in 2006, and the construction company, Lennar Corporation, working on the site created large amounts of dust and asbestos fibers that permeated throughout the area. A multitude of complaints were cited against the company for failing to use proper tools for air pollution control and failure to report the asbestos that spread out into nearby neighborhood. Ultimately, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) fined the company.
Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims
If you’ve been injured by asbestos, keep in mind that there is a good chance that you’ll qualify for considerable compensation. Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. If you have questions or need additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.