Located in Washington, D.C., the Washington Navy Yard was a U.S. Navy-owned shipyard that focused on building and repairing vessels for the military, and later, on building guns and ammunition. As with most shipyards in the past, the Washington Navy Yard relied on asbestos for its ease of use, affordability, and high resistance to heat and fire. It also used a host of other toxins, leading to the shipyard becoming a Superfund site.
If you or a loved one suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may qualify for substantial compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, awaiting those who’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos illness. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
Washington Navy Yard History
The Washington Navy Yard was established in 1799 along Washington D.C.’s 9th and M Street. It originally started out as a shipbuilding operation and built numerous types of military ships, which included 22 vessels of various sizes. This continued until World War II, when the company added guns and ammunition manufacturing to its operations. The shipyard was spread across 63.3 acres.
During World War II, Washington Navy Yard had one of its biggest growths, employing over 20,000 people. It became the largest naval ordnance plant in the world at the time, and continued to design numerous weapons. In 1945, its name changed to the U.S. Naval Gun Factory and it continued crafting guns and ammunition until the 1960s.
In 1973, the Washington Navy Yard was placed into the National Register of Historic Places. Within three years became a part of the National History Landmark.
Washington Navy Yard Asbestos Use
As mentioned earlier, Washington Navy Yard, as with most shipyards in the past, used excessive amounts of asbestos in its daily operations. Documents dating back to 1918 indicate that metal blocks contained over 65% asbestos that was molded into the backs of cannons. Other asbestos was found in:
- Fireproof paint
- Electric boosters
- Equipment, and more
Another issue that many people faced is second-hand exposure, which became a great concern at many shipyards throughout the United States. Since Washington Navy Yard workers rarely used protective gear nor changed clothing before returning home every day, children and spouses were exposed to asbestos by simply doing laundry or giving their loved ones a hug. A myriad of children who grew up around fathers who worked at shipyards ended up developing mesothelioma themselves years later.
April 1998, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (ATSDR) designated the Washington Navy Yard as a Superfund site. Within the next year, ATSDR conducted several investigations of the site, which included evaluating groundwater data and on-site soil data.
At least 17 locations throughout the shipyard contained contaminated soil and groundwater contamination. Although large amounts of asbestos were found at the site, metals were the main concern, as well as lead paint. ATSDR indicates that main source of surface soil contamination was lead paint, which was over 18,700 ppm of the EPA’s recommended 400 ppm level.
Numerous steps were taken by the EPA and ATSDR to ensure public safety, including but not limited to the following:
- Removing the Coal Storage Yard in order to abate contaminants
- Removing Admiral’s Row to remove excessive levels of toxins
- An awareness program for the public, as well as construction workers, the military, and anyone else who may still work around asbestos
- Posting advisory warnings to area residents, and more.
Help and Additional Resources
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.