Occupational health study points to asbestos on board ship as source of mesothelioma risk for seafarers

Published on January 04, 2023

A brief overview of pending and past mesothelioma lawsuits makes it clear that ships and dockyards have always been dangerous, asbestos-contaminated places. The vast majority of those seeking compensation for past exposure are naval veterans or others who have worked on or near seagoing vessels. As much as we may view this as a risk from the past, a recent job study shows that those who work on ships remain at significant risk.

Study shows OSHA regulations do not protect seafarers from mesothelioma

Although OSHA regulations are said to protect workers from occupational hazards, the report, entitled “Sailors and the Risk of Asbestos-Related Cancer,” documents the impact of asbestos, which continues to contaminate ships, and the risk of diseases, such as malignant mesothelioma, that it poses . The study is the work of health researchers Richard Lemen and Philip Landrigan.

Reviewing epidemiological studies of seafarers, Lemen and Landrigan found that many seafarers suffered from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases from which OSHA guidelines seek to protect them. Unfortunately, the limits set by the agency do not take into account the fact that “allowable exposure limits” are based on 8-hour working days and do not address the needs of those who live 24 hours a day in their workplace. as is the case with sailors.

Sailors at high risk of asbestos and mesothelioma

In their report published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Healththe authors write: “Sailors are at high risk of exposure to asbestos on board ships because, unlike shipyard workers and other occupationally exposed groups, sailors both work and live on their job and asbestos standards and Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) on the Set basis of an 8-hour workday insufficient.”

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Despite increasing evidence of the dangers of asbestos, seafarers continue to work in the presence of asbestos installed years earlier. “Chrysotile asbestos and amphibole asbestos were used extensively in shipbuilding,” they write, “for insulation, bulkhead systems, pipe linings, boilers, machinery, bulkhead panels, and many other purposes, and ships containing asbestos are still in service. ” The scientists encourage seafarers to educate themselves about the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases and to alert their doctors to the increased risk.

If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos, you may be at risk for a malignant mesothelioma. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.

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Written by Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the main author of our news blog Mesothelioma.net. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes knowledge is power, and she is committed to sharing news about the effects of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and the stories of victims.

Find out more about and contact Terri