Asbestos on Frigates

Quick Summary

Between the 1930s and early 1980s, almost all U.S. Navy frigates made with asbestos-containing products like insulation and piping. Many U.S. Navy veterans now may be at risk of asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma if they served on frigates. Thankfully, these veterans can pursue benefits and financial aid from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as well as private sources.

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Asbestos Use on Frigates

A U.S. Navy frigate on the sea

The United States Navy used frigates in World War II and beyond to escort destroyers, assist with patrol missions, and perform open-ocean escort functions.

However, almost all Navy frigates used through the early 1980s were built with asbestos, a material now linked to mesothelioma. It was often found in the piping, engines, boiler rooms, and navigation rooms on frigates.

The makers of asbestos-based products knew they were putting people at risk of deadly diseases but hid the facts for decades to keep making money.

The widespread use of asbestos on frigates put thousands of military service members in danger of developing mesothelioma.

Thankfully, veterans with mesothelioma can get medical aid and compensation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). They can also pursue financial compensation from legal claims and asbestos trust funds along with VA benefits. Learn more in our Free Veterans Packet.

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Why Was Asbestos Used on Frigates?

Asbestos-containing products were used aboard U.S. Navy frigates and other ships as part of a government mandate before the risks were well-known.

At the time, asbestos was thought to be the ideal insulator for all Navy vessels because it was cheap, durable, and fire-resistant.

However, products made with asbestos can wear down and release fibers into the air. The fibers can lodge in a person’s body and cause illnesses like lung cancer, asbestosis, or mesothelioma 10-50 years later.

As a result, thousands of U.S. Navy veterans were put at risk of mesothelioma simply from serving on frigates and other ships that were built with asbestos.

Asbestos on Frigates and Help for Veterans Video Thumbnail

Video Summary: U.S. Navy frigates relied on asbestos for decades, and veterans who served on are them at risk of mesothelioma. Get help if you or a loved one got sick from exposure to asbestos on frigates.

From the 1930s until the early 1980s, the vast majority of frigates in the U.S. Navy were made with products that contained asbestos, such as insulation and piping. As a result, many U.S. Navy veterans who served on frigates during this time may now be at risk of asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma.

The health risks associated with asbestos exposure are well-documented. However, there is hope for veterans who got sick from serving on frigates.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers benefits for veterans who have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses. These benefits include monthly compensation, free or low-cost medical care, and financial support for loved ones.

In addition, there are also private sources of financial aid available to veterans seeking compensation for mesothelioma. A private legal claim, for example, can award a significant payout.

If you served aboard a U.S. Navy frigate and now have mesothelioma, reach out to our team. The Mesothelioma Veterans Center can get you the help you deserve.

Asbestos-Based Products on Navy Frigates

The U.S. Navy used over 300 asbestos-containing products on frigates and other ships before the dangers became public knowledge.

Asbestos-based products were used to insulate parts of the ship that generated a lot of heat, such as the piping, the engine rooms, the navigation rooms, and the boiler rooms.

Products that contained asbestos on frigates included:


Boilers that were built with asbestos helped power the engine and provided hot water and high-pressure steam to various parts of the ship. Boilers often relied on asbestos-containing gaskets to control heat.

A black and white image of a water tube boiler
Water tube boiler on board a ship

Before 1973, the U.S. Navy used boilers whose external insulation alone contained up to 15% asbestos.

Boiler rooms on U.S. Navy frigates were often small areas with poor ventilation. Boilermakers may have inhaled asbestos dust that was kicked up while working on boilers.


Pipes on U.S. Navy frigates and other vessels were often wrapped in asbestos-containing insulation to regulate temperature and help them work more efficiently.

The insulation on pipes consisted of a felt wrap containing up to 50% asbestos. This outer shell often wore out, causing asbestos particles to become airborne.

Any time the outer wrapping or inner felt lining needed to be replaced, the workers had to remove it and put in new insulation.
Pipefitters often made new insulation by mixing dry asbestos dust with water and adding it around the pipe. Dry asbestos is easily crumbled (friable), so it’s more likely to send asbestos fibers flying into the air.


Many of the mechanical pumps on frigates were made with asbestos. Pumps were insulated and packed with asbestos to prevent heat from escaping.

Pumps that used asbestos on frigates were usually maintained by machinist mates. These Navy servicemembers had to use tools to remove the damaged parts and install new ones, and these activities sent asbestos fibers flying into the air.


Valves controlled the flow of gasses and liquids in the ship’s pipes and plumbing systems. There were several types of valves used aboard frigates that contained asbestos.

Many of the valves operated under high pressures and temperatures, causing them to break down easily. Workers who replaced these valves had to strip away the asbestos-containing insulation, remove the valves, and replace them. Each step in this process put U.S. Navy service members at risk of exposure.

These products were just a few of many that used asbestos. Learn more about how asbestos was used and how to get help in our Free Veterans Packet.

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Created exclusively for veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma and their families.

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List of U.S. Navy Frigates With Asbestos

Our team has identified over 100 U.S. Navy frigates that were built with asbestos. See if a ship you served on used asbestos-based products.

Black and white photo of the USS Peoria
Tacoma-class frigate: USS Peoria

U.S. Navy Frigates that used asbestos included:

  • USS Ainsworth (FFT-1090)
  • USS Albert David (FF-1050)
  • USS Antrim (FFG-20)
  • USS Aubrey Fitch (FFG-34)
  • USS Aylwin (FF-1081)
  • USS Badger (FF-1071)
  • USS Bagley (FF-1069)
  • USS Barbey (FF-1088)
  • USS Blakely (FF-1072)
  • USS Boone (FFG-28)
  • USS Bowen ​​(FFT-1079)
  • USS Bradley (FF-1041)
  • USS Brewton (FF-1086)
  • USS Bronstein (FF-1037)
  • USS Brooke (FFG-1)
  • USS Brumby (FF-1044)
  • USS Capodanno (FF-1093)
  • USS Clark (FFG-11)
  • USS Clifton Sprague (FFG-16)
  • USS Connole (FF-1056)
  • USS Cook (FF-1083)
  • USS Copeland (FFG-25)
  • USS Crommelin (FFG-37)
  • USS Curts (FFG-38)
  • USS Davidson (FF-1045)
  • USS De Wert (FFG 45)
  • USS Donald B. Beary (FFT-1085)
  • USS Downes (FF-1070)
  • USS Doyle (FFG-39)
  • USS Duncan (FFG-10)
  • USS Edward McDonnell (FF-1043)
  • USS Elmer Montgomery (FF-1082)
  • USS Estocin (FFG-15)
  • USS Fahrion (FFG-22)
  • USS Fanning (FF-1076)
  • USS Flatley (FFG-21)
  • USS Francis Hammond (FF-1067)
  • USS Gallery (FFG-26)
  • USS Garcia (FF-1040)
  • USS Gary (FFG-51)
  • USS George Philip (FFG-12)
  • USS Glover (AGFF-1)
  • USS Gray (FF-1054)
  • USS Halyburton (FFG-40)
  • USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074)
  • USS Hepburn ​​(FF-1055)
  • USS Ingraham (FFG-61)
  • USS Jack Williams (FFG-24)
  • USS Jarrett (FFG-33)
  • USS Jesse L. Brown (FFT-1089)
  • USS John A. Moore (FFG-19)
  • USS John L. Hall (FFG-32)
  • USS Joseph Hewes (FFT-1078)
  • USS Julius A. Furer (FFG-6)
  • USS Kauffman (FFG-59)
  • USS Kirk (FF-1087)
  • USS Klakring (FFG-42)
  • USS Knox (FF-1052)
  • USS Koelsch (FF-1049)
  • USS Lang (FF-1060)
  • USS Lewis B. Puller (FFG-23)
  • USS Lockwood (FF-1064)
  • USS Mahlon S. Tisdale (FFG-27)
  • USS Marvin Shields (FF-1066)
  • USS McCandless ​​(FFT-1084)
  • USS McCloy (FF-1038)
  • USS McClusky (FFG-41)
  • USS McInerney (FFG-8)
  • USS Meyerkord (FF-1058)
  • USS Miller (FF-1091)
  • USS Moinester (FFT-1097)
  • USS Nicholas (FFG-47)
  • USS O’Callahan (FF-1051)
  • USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7)
  • USS Ouellet (FF-1077)
  • USS Patterson (FF-1061)
  • USS Paul (FF-1080)
  • USS Pharris (FF-1094)
  • USS Ramsey (FFG-2)
  • USS Rathburne (FF-1057)
  • USS Reasoner (FF-1063)
  • USS Reid (FFG-30)
  • USS Rentz (FFG-46)
  • USS Richard L. Page (FFG-5)
  • USS Roark (FF-1053)
  • USS Robert E. Peary (FF-1073)
  • USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG-49)
  • USS Sample (FF-1048)
  • USS Samuel Eliot Morison (FFG-13)
  • USS Schofield (FFG-3)
  • USS Sides (FFG-14)
  • USS Stark (FFG 31)
  • USS Stein (FF-1065)
  • USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG-29)
  • USS Talbot (FFG-4)
  • USS Taylor (FFG-50)
  • USS Thach (FFG-43)
  • USS Thomas C. Hart (FF-1092)
  • USS Trippe (FF-1075)
  • USS Truett (FFT-1095)
  • USS Underwood (FFG-36)
  • USS Valdez (FF-1096)
  • USS Vandegrift (FFG-48)
  • USS Voge (FF-1047)
  • USS Vreeland (FF-1068)
  • USS W. S. Sims (FF-1059)
  • USS Wadsworth (FFG-9)
  • USS Whipple (FF-1062)
Show More

You still might have been exposed to asbestos even if you don’t see your ship listed above. Almost every Navy ship made before the early 1980s contained asbestos-based products.

Call (877) 450-8973 now to learn if a ship that you served on put you at risk.

Who Was at Risk of Asbestos on Frigates?

If you worked on a frigate, particularly in the navigation room, boiler room, or engine room, you likely were exposed to asbestos. Shipyard workers were also at risk from handling asbestos-based products in U.S. Navy shipyards.

Did you know?

No personal protective gear was provided to those aboard frigates, other ships, or those working in shipyards as the risks of asbestos weren’t fully understood for decades on end.

Many U.S. Navy service members that worked around asbestos decades ago are now at risk of mesothelioma, asbestosis, or other serious illnesses today, as it takes 10-50 years after exposure before diseases appear.

Thankfully, Navy veterans with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases can get medical treatment and monthly payments from the VA.

Compensation for Navy Veterans With Mesothelioma

Veterans who have been affected by asbestos exposure during their time serving in the U.S. Navy may be able to seek financial compensation and other benefits.

Veterans can access compensation for mesothelioma through:

  • Asbestos trust fund claims: Asbestos trust funds were set up by manufacturers of asbestos products to ensure victims get compensation. More than $30 billion in total is available through trust fund claims.
  • Mesothelioma lawsuits: You may be able to file a lawsuit for mesothelioma if a company that exposed you doesn’t have a trust fund. Lawsuits are not filed against the U.S. Navy or government and award $1 million or more in many cases.
  • VA benefits claims: You may qualify for financial benefits from the VA if you were diagnosed with mesothelioma after your time of service. VA mesothelioma disability compensation awards over $3,500 per month.
  • VA health care: You can also can pursue treatments from military medical centers throughout the country with VA health care. Some of the best mesothelioma doctors treat veterans at these facilities.

Get a Free Veterans Packet now to learn about all the benefits you may qualify for.

Mesothelioma Veterans Guide
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Get information on:

  • Top Treatments
  • Best Doctors
  • Improving Prognosis

Get a Free Veterans Packet

Mesothelioma Veterans Guide
Get a Free Veterans Packet

Created exclusively for veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma and their families.

  • Top Treatments
  • Best Doctors
  • Improving Prognosis

Get a Free Veterans Packet

Help for Navy Veterans Exposed to Asbestos on Frigates

Navy veterans never deserved to develop mesothelioma after serving their country. Sadly, these veterans are one of the highest-risk groups for asbestos-related diseases today due to asbestos on frigates and other ships.

The VA has taken steps to help veterans with mesothelioma, offering financial and medical benefits to those affected.

Further, mesothelioma patients that served their country may be able to take legal action against the makers of asbestos-based products. These companies knew the risks decades ago but concealed the deadly truth in the name of profits.

Learn about the benefits that may be available to you or your loved one: Call (877) 450-8973 now to get started.

FAQs about Asbestos on Frigates

Why did the U.S. Navy use asbestos on frigates?

The U.S. Navy used asbestos on all of its ships, including frigates, between the 1930s and early 1980s since the material could resist fires and make ships stronger.

For much of the time that the U.S. Navy used asbestos on frigates, the dangers were hidden from the general public by manufacturers.

When was asbestos banned on frigates?

The use of asbestos on frigates and other ships was banned in the late 1970s, when efforts began to remove products containing this dangerous substance.

U.S. Navy personnel may have been at risk of exposure up through the 1980s though, as asbestos removal efforts took time and cost millions of dollars.

Some U.S. Navy ships still have asbestos-based products on board even today, as it was impractical to remove all of it. In these cases, the asbestos-based products are sealed off and won’t pose a threat to human health.

How can U.S. Navy veterans with mesothelioma get help?

U.S. Navy veterans can get help from the VA, medical hospitals, and mesothelioma lawyers that have handled asbestos-related cases in the past. All of these resources are highly important — through them, veterans can get top-notch treatments and financial aid.

Veterans can learn about these options — and more — with a Free Veterans Packet.

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.