Asbestosis and mesothelioma in the navy: The I-400 ?

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Scientific evidences were linked mesothelioma with asbestosis in the navy vessels until this material was finally banned from vessel and even building construction during the 1970s. however, from 1930s, many vessels were constructed with this material in many key rooms and facilities. Large quantities of the mesothelioma-causing mineral were therefore present in many different rooms such as engine rooms, deck flooring, walls, doors and miles of piping. Among all of sailors those with specific tasks which spent more time in those areas and facilities had more risk to develop the illness. These ratings and ranks include: Hull technicians and engineers, boiler tenders, shipfitters, engine mechanics, and welders. Even other corps such as sailors from merchant navies and marine corps were at some degree or risk because the latter were also deployed on any navy Ship. The transport ships often had poor ventilation. High amounts of asbestos fibers circulated throughout ship inside almost sealed compartments, exposing sailors and personal.

See more details here: Asbestosis in the navy

There is a smaller number of detailed reports from other navies, such as the Imperial Japanese Navy. However, there are some indications and evidences on that in some submarines such as the famous I-400. According the book of Boyd et al., (2002), there was a special anechoic coating made from a mixture of gum, asbestos, and adhesives was applied to the hulls from the waterline to the bilge keel. This coating was apparently based on German research, though completely different in composition from German anechoic coatings such as Alberich or Tarnmatte. With similar purpose in other navies, this was intended to absorb or diffuse enemy sonar pulses and dampen reverberations from the boat’s internal machinery, theoretically making detection while submerged more difficult, though its effectiveness was never conclusively established.

Boyd, Carl, and Yoshida, Akihiko, The Japanese Submarine Force and World War II, BlueJacket Books (2002), ISBN 1557500150, pp. 27, 29

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