Asbestos Exposure at Job Sites

Bergman Oslund Udo Little has specialized in asbestos job site exposure and mesothelioma lawsuits since 1995. Besides fighting for client compensation, the firm maintains a proprietary database of asbestos job sites, including public facilities, military bases, manufacturing plants, and shipyards.  

Asbestos was widely used in many industries throughout the 20th century. As a result, countless workers were exposed to the toxic substance and have developed asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma. Since 1995, the experienced lawyers at Bergman Oslund Udo Little have focused on locations in the Pacific Northwest to help those harmed by asbestos exposure get the compensation they deserve.  

Each attorney has a connection to the Pacific Northwest. Some are lifelong residents. Others moved here for law school. All are passionate about getting justice for those harmed while working at the area’s shipyards, manufacturing plants, and military bases.  

Common Asbestos Job Sites Throughout WA and OR

The Pacific Northwest is home to many job sites with asbestos exposure risks. Shipyards, paper mills, and power plants are among the many asbestos job sites throughout Washington and Oregon where workers were regularly exposed to the carcinogenic mineral. The following are some job sites in the Pacific Northwest with extensive histories of asbestos exposure.  

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

Many clients seeking compensation for asbestos-related illnesses have worked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.  

During the 20th century, asbestos was used in shipbuilding due to its insulating properties. The material was used to reinforce ships and make them fireproof. It was also used on equipment, boilers, pipes and in gaskets and packing. Shipyard employees experienced moderate to high exposure levels, increasing their likelihood of developing illnesses like mesothelioma later in life.  

Todd Shipyards

Todd Shipyards in Seattle used asbestos because of its heat-resistant qualities. Marine equipment, building sheeting, boilers, incinerators, hot water pipes, and fireproof blankets were all made with asbestos. Workers were exposed to varying degrees at this asbestos job site. 

Several former Todd Shipyards employees have hired an asbestos lawyer in Washington to help them get compensation for the mesothelioma they developed after years of working there.  

Centralia Power Plant

Washington State Certified Asbestos Inspectors made multiple trips to Centralia Power Plant between 1985 and 2000 to remove remaining asbestos used for thermal insulation there. But there’s no guarantee all of it’s gone. Even someone hired after 2000 risks on-site asbestos exposure.  

Those employed at Centralia Power Plant before 1985 were undoubtedly exposed to the mineral through contact with asbestos pipe coverings, asbestos-insulated boilers, gaskets, packing, and asbestos-containing cement. Workers’ family members may have experienced secondhand exposure from the fibers attached to their loved one’s hair, skin, and clothes when they returned from work.  

Hanford Site

The Hanford Site was established in 1943 to create nuclear weapons for World War II. Like many other nuclear facilities of that time, the site used asbestos-containing items, such as floor tiles, pipe insulation, and boiler linings. Decades later, asbestos was discovered in the location’s 1902-D Water Tower, the 294-W building, and waste material from the 2723-W building. 

Because there was so much asbestos at the Hanford Site, many of its former workers inhaled the mineral’s fibers, greatly increasing their risk of developing an asbestos-related illness.  

Skagit Oil Refineries

The good news about Skagit County oil refineries coming to Washington in the 1950s was they created jobs. The bad news is that those jobs exposed workers to cancer-causing asbestos. 

Sites like Puget Sound Refinery and Marathon Anacortes Refinery used asbestos in parts and materials, including protective gear, refinery equipment, building materials, and insulation installed before the 1980s. Working at Skagit County refineries put workers in positions to inhale or ingest asbestos, especially if they were welders, electricians, boilermakers, and pipefitters.  

Cowlitz County Paper Mills

Each of Cowlitz County’s paper mills relied on asbestos in machinery until the 1980s. This asbestos job site used the mineral for fireproofing and durability, too.  

Any paper mill worker employed before then risked asbestos exposure. Parties with the most contact were maintenance personnel, people who worked directly with asbestos fabric, and workers handling pulping, boiler, and papermaking.  

Crown Zellerbach Paper Mill

Crown Zellerbach was formed in 1928 when the Zellerbach Paper Company merged with the Crown Willamette Paper Company. The company grew to be a timber industry giant.  

Unfortunately, Crown Zellerbach mills, including the Camas, Washington, location, were built before the dangers of asbestos came to light. Mill workers were in frequent contact with the carcinogen because it was a main component of much of the equipment and the insulated pipes that transported materials through the mills.  

St. Regis Pulp & Paper Mill

Much like the other paper mills built around the same time, St. Regis Pulp & Paper Mill used asbestos in its production work. Boilers, steam pipes, valves, and pumps were covered in asbestos materials for insulation, and the laborers in charge of repairing those systems were regularly exposed.  

Even workers who didn’t physically handle asbestos inhaled the particles emitted into the air by those who did. Everyone at this asbestos job site was exposed to high levels regularly.  

Swan Island Shipyards

Swan Island Shipyards opened in Portland, Oregon, in 1940. Workers were routinely exposed because efforts to remove asbestos from job sites weren’t undertaken until 40 years later. Workers handled asbestos insulation installed between decks and often used compressed asbestos molds and asbestos blankets as shields.  

Large numbers of Swan Island laborers were exposed to high levels of asbestos. Many with mesothelioma diagnoses hired asbestos lawyers in Oregon to pursue compensation.  

ALCOA Aluminum Smelter

In the first half of the 20th century, shipyards and paper mills were notable asbestos job sites. So were metal works facilities, like ALCOA Aluminum Smelter in Wenatchee, Washington. Asbestos was found throughout the aluminum plant—in the materials from which the building was constructed, in the machinery used to make and refine aluminum, and in the fire-resistant clothing workers wore for safety. Asbestos was also used to insulate smelting pots. 

Though ALCOA executives knew how harmful asbestos was as early as the 1940s, they didn’t phase it out until 40 years later. By then, countless workers had been exposed to it and accidentally shared that exposure with their families via the asbestos fibers they brought home on their hair, skin, and clothing. 

Weyerhaeuser Paper Mill

Unfortunately, asbestos exposure was the norm for workers at Weyerhaeuser Paper Mill in Longview, Washington. Like its other industry counterparts, the company used asbestos as an insulator for pipes and vessels during pulping and boiling. Workers often had to perform maintenance on these machines and made direct contact with the harmful mineral. 

Others at the paper mill also experienced asbestos exposure. The materials used to construct the facility—such as tiles and cement—often contained asbestos. That means if any worker came into contact with decaying material, they more than likely inhaled asbestos fibers.  

Asbestos Exposure in the Military

Workers risk asbestos exposure at job sites in several occupations, and military active-duty members are no exception. Each military branch drastically reduced the use of asbestos in the 1970s, but those who served before then came in contact with the harmful mineral. Asbestos remains present in ships, vehicles, and living quarters used by active-duty service members. So, unfortunately, avoiding significant asbestos exposure in the military is impossible.  

The branch that faces the most significant asbestos exposure is the Navy. Asbestos was used on ships for fire safety, insulation, operating machinery, and waterproofing. However, no branch is safe from exposure to the substance. Common sources of military asbestos exposure include: 

  • Coast Guard vessels 
  • Aircraft 
  • Land vehicles, jeeps, and trucks 
  • Tanks 
  • Communication centers 
  • Military bases 
  • Fire blankets 
  • Government and administrative buildings 

Risks of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelial tissue that lines internal organs, and its only known cause is prolonged asbestos exposure. Symptoms of the disease vary depending on the affected organs. The cancer primarily attacks the lungs and stomach but can also affect the heart or testicles. Most mesothelioma patients commonly experience the following symptoms: 

  • Side or lower back pain 
  • Shortness of breath, even when resting 
  • Painful breathing 
  • Persistent dry cough 
  • Dysphagia, or trouble swallowing 

Bergman Oslund Udo Little offers a free online mesothelioma guide. It’s wise to familiarize yourself with mesothelioma symptoms, but you shouldn’t assume that you have the disease just because you are experiencing one or a few. Only a doctor specializing in mesothelioma can give an accurate diagnosis after walking you through the following steps. 

  1. Physical examination – Before or during this stage is the best time to alert the physician of potential asbestos exposure in your past, even if you think it occurred too long ago to matter. Mesothelioma symptoms don’t usually develop until 20 to 60 years after initial exposure. Share any second-hand exposures you may have experienced through contact with the clothing of a family member or friend who worked at an asbestos job site.  
  2. Imaging and diagnostic tests – After the physical exam, the doctor may order an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or PET scan to determine if cancer is present, where it’s present, and to what extent.  
  3. Biopsy – Last but certainly not least, the physician will enlist a pathologist to conduct a biopsy to examine your tissue under a microscope. Then, the pathologist will determine if there are mesothelioma cells in your body and, if there are, what type they are.  

Mesothelioma treatment options vary depending on the individual’s case. However, doctors may suggest surgical procedures, radiation, chemotherapy, experimental drugs, or alternative therapies. 

Legal Options for Those Exposed to Asbestos on the Job

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation or medical care, and our compassionate team at Bergman Oslund Udo Little can help you file a claim.  

Our Pacific Northwest firm prides itself on delivering personalized attention to all our clients. We work closely with mesothelioma victims to hear how the disease has impacted their lives. At Bergman Oslund Udo Little, our attorneys understand the toll a mesothelioma diagnosis can take on an individual and their family, so we patiently walk each client through the process of filing a claim.  

Our team of experienced lawyers at Bergman Oslund Udo Little is noted for its compassion for clients and vigorous advocacy in the courtroom. We have won over a billion dollars in verdicts and recovered settlements for our clients. Contact our team for a free case review. 

FAQs About Asbestos Exposure at Job Sites

Which Tradespeople Are Most at Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, construction workers and those who work in building and equipment maintenance are the most at risk of asbestos exposure.  

In times of disaster—such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks—the list extends to include early responders, firefighters, paramedics, and police officers. When a building collapses, an asbestos-containing mix of matter is released, and anyone nearby experiences short-term exposure.  

When Was Asbestos Most Commonly Used?

People long knew how useful asbestos could be, but it didn’t become a common construction material until the late 19th century. Over time, the mineral’s use expanded beyond construction work. Asbestos became a component in fire-resistant clothing for firefighters, hot pads for food production, automobile brake pads and clutch fittings, thermal insulation, and even cat litter.  

Per the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, asbestos use didn’t decrease until the 1970s, when studies revealed the material’s link to adverse health effects.  

Where Are You Most Likely To Be Exposed to Asbestos?

Today, asbestos exposure is most common while repairing, renovating, removing, or performing routine maintenance on a product or building assembled years ago with asbestos.  

Military Ships With Asbestos Exposure

Because of its durability, high heat tolerance, and affordability, asbestos was used to reinforce ships—even U.S. Navy vessels—and make them fireproof. 

If you’re a Navy veteran who was aboard a cruiser, such as the USS Alaska CB 1, a battleship, such as the USS Alabama BB 60, or an auxiliary vessel, such as the USNS Asterion T-AF-63, you were likely exposed to asbestos during active duty.  

If you were aboard any of these ships, you were likely exposed to asbestos: 

  • USS Alaska CB 1
  • USS Albany CA 123
  • USS Amsterdam CL 101
  • USS Astoria CL 34
  • USS Astoria CL 90
  • USS Atlanta CL 104
  • USS Atlanta CL 51
  • USS Augusta CA 31
  • USS Baltimore CA 68
  • USS Bainbridge CGN 25
  • USS Belknap CG 26
  • USS Biddle CG 34
  • USS Biloxi CL 80
  • USS Birmingham CL 62
  • USS Boise CL 47
  • USS Boston CA 169
  • USS Bremerton CA 130
  • USS Brooklyn CL 40
  • USS Canberra CA 70
  • USS Chester CA 27
  • USS Chicago CA 29
  • USS Cleveland CL 55
  • USS Columbia CL 56
  • USS Columbus CA 74
  • USS Dale CG 19
  • USS Dayton CL 105
  • USS Denver CL 58
  • USS Des Moines CA 134
  • USS Duluth CL 87
  • USS England CG 22
  • USS Fall River CA 131
  • USS Fargo CL 106
  • USS Flint CL 97
  • USS Fox CG 33
  • USS Fresno CL 121
  • USS Galveston CL 93
  • USS Gridley CG 21
  • USS Guam CB 2
  • USS Halsey CG 23
  • USS Harry E. Yarnell CG 17
  • USS Helena CL 50
  • USS Helena CA 75
  • USS Honolulu CL 48
  • USS Horne CG 30
  • USS Houston CA 30
  • USS Houston CL 81
  • USS Huntington CL 107
  • USS Indianapolis CA 35
  • USS Josephus Daniels CG 27
  • USS Jouett CG 29
  • USS Juneau CL 52
  • USS Juneau CL 119
  • USS Leahy CG 16
  • USS Lexington CV 2
  • USS Little Rock CL 92
  • USS Los Angeles CA 135
  • USS Louisville CA 28
  • USS Macon CA 132
  • USS Manchester CL 83
  • USS Marblehead CL 12
  • USS Memphis CL 13
  • USS Miami CL 89
  • USS Milwaukee CL 5
  • USS Minneapolis CA 36
  • USS Mobile CL 63
  • USS Montpelier CL 57
  • USS Nashville CL 43
  • USS New Orleans CA 32
  • USS Newport News CA 148
  • USS Northampton CA 26
  • USS Northampton CA 125
  • USS Oakland CL 95
  • USS Oklahoma City CL 91
  • USS Oklahoma City CLG 5
  • USS Oregon City CA 122
  • USS Omaha CL 4
  • USS Pasadena CL 65
  • USS Pensacola CA 24
  • USS Philadelphia CL 41
  • USS Phoenix CL 46
  • USS Pittsburgh CA 72
  • USS Portland CA 33
  • USS Portsmouth CL 102
  • USS Providence CL 82
  • USS Quincy CA 39
  • USS Quincy CA 71
  • USS Raleigh CL 7
  • USS Reeves CG 24
  • USS Reno CL 96
  • USS Richmond CL 9
  • USS Richmond K. Turner CG 20
  • USS Roanoke CL 145
  • USS Rochester CA 124
  • USS St Paul CA 73
  • USS Salem CA 139
  • USS Salt Lake City CA 25
  • USS San Diego CL 53
  • USS San Francisco CA 38
  • USS San Juan CL 54
  • USS Santa Fe CL 60
  • USS Savannah CL 42
  • USS Spokane CL 120
  • USS Springfield CL 66
  • USS St Louis CL 49
  • USS Sterett CG 31
  • USS Toledo CA 133
  • USS Topeka CL 67
  • USS Trenton CL 11
  • USS Tucson CL 98
  • USS Tuscaloosa CA 37
  • USS Vicksburg CL 86
  • USS Vincennes CA 44
  • USS Vincennes CL 64
  • USS Wichita CA 45
  • USS Wilkes Barre CL 103
  • USS William H. Standley CG 32
  • USS Worcester CL 144
  • USS Worden CG 18
  • USS Alabama BB 60
  • USS Arizona BB 39
  • USS Arkansas BB 33
  • USS California BB 44
  • USS Colorado BB 45
  • USS Idaho BB 42
  • USS Indiana BB 58
  • USS Iowa BB 61
  • USS Maryland BB 46
  • USS Massachusetts BB 59
  • USS Mississippi BB 41
  • USS Missouri BB 63
  • USS Nevada BB 36
  • USS New Jersey BB 62
  • USS New Mexico BB 40
  • USS New York BB 34
  • USS North Carolina BB 55
  • USS Oklahoma BB 37
  • USS Pennsylvania BB 38
  • USS South Dakota BB 57
  • USS Tennessee BB 43
  • USS Texas-BB 35
  • USS Utah BB 31
  • USS Washington BB 56
  • USS West Virginia BB 48
  • USS Wisconsin BB 64
  • USS Wyoming BB 32
  • USNS Asterion T-AF-63
  • USNS Cheyenne T-AG-174
  • USNS Cumberland T-AO-153
  • USNS David C Shanks T-AP-180
  • USNS Fred C Aunsworth T-AP-181
  • USNS Geiger T-AP-197
  • USNS Harris County T-LST-822
  • USNS Lt. George W. G.
  • Boyce T-AK-251
  • USNS Lt. Robert Craig T-AK-252
  • USNS Marine Adder AP-193
  • USNS Mission San Antonio T-AO-119
  • USNS Provo T-AG-173
  • USNS Rincon T-AOG-77
  • USNS Sgt. Andrew Miller T-AK-242
  • USNS Sgt. Curtis F. Shoup T-AG-175
  • USNS Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton T-AKV-5
  • USNS Sgt. Morris E. Crain T-AK-244
  • USNS Shearwater T-AG-177
  • USS Admiral Hugh Rodman AP-126
  • USS Admiral W.S. Sims AP-127
  • USS Alamo LSD-33
  • USS Alshain AKA-55
  • USS Alstede AF-48
  • USS Andromeda AKA-15
  • USS Ashtabula AO-51
  • USS Bellatrix AKA-3
  • USS Bryce Canyon AD 36
  • USS Bryce Canyon AD 36
  • USS Cacapon AO-52
  • USS Caroline County LST-525
  • USS Carter Hall LSD-3
  • USS Cassia County LST-527
  • USS Catalpa AN-10
  • USS Cayuga County LST-529
  • USS Charleston LKA-113
  • USS Chimon AG-150
  • USS Chittenden County LST-561
  • USS Cimarron AO-22
  • USS Clarke County LST-601
  • USS Cleveland LPD-7
  • USS Collenton APB-36
  • USS Colonial LSD-18
  • USS Consolation AH-15
  • USS Crook County LST-611
  • USS DeKalb County LST-715
  • USS Denebola AF-56
  • USS Diphda AKA-59
  • USS Dixie AD-14
  • USS Dukes County LST-735
  • USS Dunn County LST-742
  • USS Duval County LST-758
  • USS El Paso LKA-117
  • USS Electron AG-146
  • USS Epping Forest LSD-4
  • USS Etlah AN-79
  • USS Firedrake AE-14
  • USS Floyd County LST-762
  • USS Fort Fisher LSD-40
  • USS Frederick LST-1184
  • USS Gardiners Bay AVP-39
  • USS General A.W. Brewster AP-155
  • USS General C.G. Morton AP-138
  • USS General D.E.Aultman AP-156
  • USS General George M. Randall AP-115
  • USS General H.F. Hodges AP-144
  • USS General J.C. Breckenridge AP-176
  • USS General LeRoy Eltinge AP-154
  • USS General M.C. Meigs AP-116
  • USS General M.M. Patrick AP-50
  • USS General R.L. Howze AP-134
  • USS General S.D. Sturgis AP-137
  • USS General W.A. Mann AP-112
  • USS General W.F. Hase AP-146
  • USS General W.M. Black AP-135
  • USS General William Mitchell AP-114
  • USS Genesee AOG-8
  • USS Grainger AK-184
  • USS Greer County LST-799
  • USS Guadalupe AO-32
  • USS Guam LPH-9
  • USS Haleakala AE-25
  • USS Hamilton County LST-802
  • USS Hampshire County LST-819
  • USS Haven AH-12
  • USS Hennepin AK-187
  • USS Herkimer AK-188
  • USS Hickman County LST-825
  • USS Holmes County LST-836
  • USS Hunterdon County LST-838
  • USS Inchon LPH-12
  • USS Iron County LST-840
  • USS James O’Hara APA-90
  • USS Jefferson County LST-845
  • USS Jerome County LST-848
  • USS Kansas City AOR-3
  • USS Kaskaskia AO-27
  • USS Kemper County LST-854
  • USS Keosanqua ATA-198
  • USS King County LST-857
  • USS Kishwaukee AOG-9
  • USS La Moure County LST-883
  • USS Laertes AR-20
  • USS Lawrence County LST-887
  • USS Lindenwald LSD-6
  • USS Luzerne County LST-902
  • USS Magoffin APA-199
  • USS Mahnomen County LST-912
  • USS Manatee AO-58
  • USS Markab AD-21
  • USS Mathews AKA-96
  • USS Mauna Kea AE-22
  • USS Mazama AE-9
  • USS Merapi AF-98
  • USS Merrick AKA-97
  • USS Mispillion AO-105
  • USS Monmouth County LST-1032
  • USS Monticello LSD-35
  • USS Mount Baker AE-4
  • USS Mount McKinley ACG-7
  • USS Mulberry AN-27
  • USS Muliphen AKA-61
  • USS Navasota AO-106
  • USS New Orleans LPH-11
  • USS Niagra Falls AFS-3
  • USS Ogden LPD-5
  • USS Okinawa LPH-3
  • USS Onslow APV-48
  • USS Orange County LST-1068
  • USS Outagamie County LST-1073
  • USS Paricutin AE-18
  • USS Park County LST-1077
  • USS Pasig AW-3
  • USS Patapsco AOG-1
  • USS Pender County LST-1080
  • USS Pictor AF-54
  • USS Platte AO-24
  • USS Plumas County LST-1083
  • USS Polaris AF-11
  • USS Portland LSD-37
  • USS Princeton CV-37
  • USS Procyon AF-61
  • USS Rainer AE-5
  • USS Regulus AF-57
  • USS Romulus-ARL-22
  • USS Sanborn APA-193
  • USS Sanctuary AH-17
  • USS Sarnac AO-74
  • USS Satyr ARL-23
  • USS Sedgwick County LST-1123
  • USS Sharps AG-139
  • USS Skagit AKA-105
  • USS Sphinx ARL 24
  • USS St. Clair County LST 1096
  • USS St. Joseph’s River LSM 527
  • USS Steuben County LST 1138
  • USS Suisun AVP 53
  • USS Summit County LST 1146
  • USS Susquehanna AOG-5
  • USS Tallulah AO 50
  • USS Tensaw YT 418
  • USS Terrell County LST 1157
  • USS Thomaston LSD 28
  • USS Tioga County LST 1158
  • USS Tom Green County LST 1159
  • USS Tombigbee AOG 11
  • USS Tripoli LPH 10
  • USS Union AKA 106
  • USS Vancouver LPD 2
  • USS Vesuvius AE 15
  • USS Virgo AKA 20
  • USS Waccamaw AO 109
  • USS Wallacut YTB 420
  • USS Warrick AKA-89
  • USS Washoe County LST 1165
  • USS Westchester County LST 1165
  • USS Whetstone LSD 27
  • USS Whidbey AG 141
  • USS Whiteside AKA 90
  • USS Windham County LST 1170
  • USS Wrangell AE 12
  • USS Yancey AKA 93
  • USS Yazoo AN 92
  • USS Zelima AF 49
  • USTS Empire State V
Contact The Firm

Representing asbestos and mesothelioma clients throughout the Northwest.

520 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101

1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204

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