Asbestos on Cruisers

Quick Summary

Asbestos-containing products were used on a daily basis by sailors operating on cruisers. These asbestos materials often became broken down, agitated, or degraded — resulting in asbestos fibers becoming airborne where they could be ingested or inhaled.

Asbestos use on cruisers has been linked to a number of health conditions, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

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Asbestos and Cruisers Explained

One of the largest ships in the Navy arsenal is the U.S. Navy cruiser. This ship is a large combat warship that has many different capabilities for multiple target responses.

US Navy cruiser USS California

Cruisers have been active for a long time throughout U.S. history, being used in World War I (1914-1918), World War II (1941-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (1955-1975) and the Cold War (1955-1991).

The U.S. Navy cruiser is different from other U.S. Navy war vessels, such as aircraft carriers, because it can be modified to do many different tasks during battle.

Navy cruisers vary in size and design — from very small ships to massive, heavily armed cruisers. Some Navy cruisers are even as large as Navy battleships.

Navy cruisers have been around since the early 20th century, with designs remaining relatively constant over the years. Sadly, most Navy cruisers were built using asbestos products, which put many Navy veterans at risk of developing deadly cancers like mesothelioma.

Thankfully, veterans with mesothelioma can receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to access monthly payouts and medical care.

They can also pursue asbestos claims from the makers of asbestos-containing products. Get a free veterans packet to learn about these options.

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List of Navy Cruisers With Asbestos

Asbestos was used in shipbuilding for years, which is why so many Navy vessels previously contained this harmful product.

Various types of Navy Cruisers that may have had asbestos include:

  • Anti-Aircraft light cruisers (CLAA)
  • Light Cruisers (CL)
  • Guided Missile Cruisers that were nuclear-powered (CNG)
  • Guided Missile Cruisers with Helicopter capabilities (CGH)
  • Guided Missile Cruisers (CG)
  • Command Cruisers (CC)
  • Large Command Ship (CBC)
  • Large Cruisers (CB)
  • Guided Missile Heavy Cruisers (CAG)
  • Heavy Cruisers (CA)
  • Armored Cruisers (CA)
  • Cruiser-Hunter Killer Ship (CLK)
  • Guided Missile Light Cruiser, Nuclear Powered (CLGN)
  • Guided Missile Light Cruiser converted to carry missiles (CLG)
  • Command Light Cruisers (CLG)
  • Ticonderoga-Class Guided Missile Cruisers (CG)

The following Navy cruisers contained asbestos materials:

  • USS Albany
  • USS Astoria
  • USS Baltimore
  • USS Boston
  • USS Canberra
  • USS Columbus
  • USS Helena
  • USS Houston
  • USS Jouett
  • USS Juneau
  • USS Los Angeles
  • USS New Orleans
  • USS Norfolk
  • USS Pittsburgh
  • USS Quincy
  • USS San Diego
  • USS San Francisco
  • USS St. Paul
  • USS Vicksburg
  • USS Wilkes-Barre

However, any Navy cruiser built before the 1980s may have contained asbestos. 

How Was Asbestos Used in Navy Carriers?

A military cruiser on the sea

From the 1930s to the early 1980s, asbestos was used prominently in cruisers as insulation and in products and machinery.

Asbestos was cheap and versatile, so it was used throughout many cruisers and ships before it was known that asbestos was dangerous to breathe or ingest.

As a result, many Navy personnel, including sailors and shipyard workers, were exposed to asbestos. The exposures could have happened during shipbuilding or during cruiser operation.

Asbestos was commonly used in:

  • Pipe insulation
  • Boilers
  • Engine rooms
  • Bulkheads
  • Switches
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Fuel storage areas
  • Electrical components

Anyone who worked in areas of U.S. Navy cruisers with these materials during the specified time period may be at high risk for mesothelioma or other health risks.

You may be able to file for VA benefits if you were exposed to asbestos on a cruiser and later developed mesothelioma.

Asbestos-Containing Products on Cruisers

Documents from Navy logs showed the widespread use of asbestos in all areas of the ship.

Asbestos products and the areas they were used on Navy cruisers include:

  • Asbestos cloth insulation for pipe flange cuffs
  • Asbestos cloth insulation for valves
  • Molded asbestos for lagging and insulation
  • Asbestos-containing gaskets
  • Asbestos-containing paper
  • Packing rings made from asbestos
  • Elevator pit drainage pumps
  • Auxiliary condenser circulation pumps
  • Main boilers and piping

Certain brands from this era were known to contain asbestos and may have been used during shipbuilding. These include Westinghouse electric brand turbines, Milwaukee, Manning, Maxwell, and Moore brand valves; and Worthington gasoline meters.

Asbestos was also used to repair and refurbish all of the valves, turbines, condensers, boilers, and gaskets found on these cruisers.

Among those at the highest risk for asbestos exposure are Navy veterans who built cruisers, as well as those who worked in the boiler rooms and engine rooms. This is where asbestos was most prevalent and there was the greatest need for continually replacing asbestos-containing parts.

Exposed to asbestos on a Navy ship? Get a free veterans packet to see if you qualify for benefits and compensation.

How Asbestos Exposure Causes Diseases

Asbestos fibers are long and thin and usually lodge in the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum) or the lungs (the pleura). Once the fibers have accumulated in these areas, they tend to cause inflammation and scar tissue.

This process happens over several decades. As many as five decades could pass from the time of exposure to the time the individual develops an asbestos-related disease.

Asbestos Fibers

Sadly, by the time many veterans experience symptoms, their cancer has already progressed. Thankfully, treatments are available to help mesothelioma patients, even those with advanced mesothelioma.

Currently, there is no cure for mesothelioma. However, starting a mesothelioma claim may help you get compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve endured, pay for medical expenses, and more.

Legal Options for Asbestos on Cruisers

If you were exposed to asbestos while serving on a Navy cruiser, there are several options available to you to seek compensation. These include the following.

Asbestos Claims

Asbestos claims, a type of product liability claim, involves suing the companies that manufactured the asbestos materials used on Navy cruisers.

These companies set up trust funds for future asbestos-exposure victims. Funds pay for damages incurred due to asbestos-related diseases.

Damages vary by individual case, but your asbestos claim could pay for medical expenses related to your mesothelioma diagnosis, your pain and suffering, and other impacts to your life.

If you are unsure whether you or a loved one qualify for an asbestos claim, our team at the Mesothelioma Veterans Center can answer all your questions, determine eligibility, and put you in touch with great asbestos law firms around the country.

VA Benefits

Mesothelioma patients who served in a branch of the military may qualify for a 100% disability rating through the Veterans Administration (VA).

This means you could receive full healthcare and disability benefits if your claim is approved. You may qualify if you can show that you:

  • spent time on a Naval vessel,
  • did not receive a dishonorable discharge, and
  • were diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Help For Veterans With Mesothelioma

If you worked on a cruiser during any of the wars noted above, you may be at risk for an asbestos-containing disease, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Fortunately, you can be screened for these diseases at your local VA medical center.

Asbestos-related illnesses may be service connected. If this is the case, the treatment of any diseases you contracted as a result of asbestos exposure may be covered under VA medical benefits. You may also qualify for financial VA benefits and legal compensation from the makers of asbestos-based products.

Get a free case review to see if you can pursue these benefits right now. Our team is standing by to help you.

FAQs About Asbestos on Cruisers

Do cruisers have asbestos?

Yes, cruisers and many other types of U.S. Navy ships contained asbestos materials before the 1980s, when the harm linked to asbestos was discovered.

Once the danger associated with asbestos was revealed, shipbuilders stopped using the material in shipbuilding and repair. However, exposure to this toxic material can cause adverse health conditions decades after exposure.

Can asbestos exposure on cruisers lead to cancer?

Yes, exposure to asbestos-containing products on Navy cruisers can lead to the development of a cancer caused solely by asbestos exposure known as mesothelioma.

It could also lead to lung cancer, asbestosis, and other health conditions.

What’s the average asbestos settlement for mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is often a disease with a poor prognosis (outcome). This is why asbestos settlements may reach millions of dollars.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

  1. Cruiser image retrieved from Naval History and Heritage Command at