The physical labor involved in shipyard work is something that puts many people away from the job. Even if you do not mind that labor, it is reasonable to expect that your workplace is free of any unnecessary dangers.
Unfortunately, you may face exactly that in the form of asbestos exposure. Many shipyards have gone through remediation to remove this health hazard, but you may be working in an asbestos-riddled environment without even knowing it.
How asbestos causes illness
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discusses asbestos exposure in shipyards. This used to be a common material due to its fire retardant and insulating properties. However, asbestos was revealed over the years to be a major cause of health concerns.
This includes, but is not limited to, illnesses and injuries like lung cancer, asbestosis, asthma, mesothelioma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Unfortunately, these diseases are all extremely hard to treat. The carcinogenic fibers of asbestos are incredibly small and easy to inhale, and may embed themselves into your lungs. It is nearly impossible to remove these fibers, meaning doctors often have to treat the resulting medical condition.
Treatment and exposure risks
Treatments can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, breathing treatments and more. They are invasive, exhausting and difficult procedures that are not cheap.
On top of that, you may not even know you have been exposed until years or even decades later due to the nature of asbestos exposure symptoms. Your family may also be at risk of second-hand asbestos exposure. In short, your job could jeopardize not only your own health and life, but the lives of those you love, and you might not even know it.