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Asbestos on Aircraft Carriers

The military relied on asbestos to build aircraft carriers and other Navy vessels for much of the 20th century. As a result, millions of veterans who served on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers were exposed to asbestos before its dangers became public. Our team can help if you or a loved one developed mesothelioma from asbestos on aircraft carriers.

Legally reviewed by: Brian J. Cooke

Last updated:

Did the U.S. Navy Use Asbestos on Aircraft Carriers?

United States Navy USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), Nimitz-class aircraft carrier

Yes, the Navy used asbestos products on aircraft carriers for several decades to keep them insulated and fireproof. Asbestos could be found aboard every designation of aircraft carrier from World War II onward.

Even one instance of asbestos exposure can lead to life-threatening health problems, including a cancer called mesothelioma, 10 to 50 years later.

Veterans who served aboard aircraft carriers and other Navy ships are at very high risk of mesothelioma. In fact, 33% of all mesothelioma cases stem from U.S. Navy or shipyard asbestos exposure.

Key Facts About Asbestos on Aircraft Carriers

  • At-risk carrier designations: CVA, CVAN, CVB, CVL, CVN CVT, CVS
  • Products: Gaskets, insulation, flame-resistant materials, and more
  • Related illnesses: Mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis
  • Uses: Insulation, fireproofing, soundproofing, and corrosion prevention

U.S. Navy veterans with mesothelioma who were exposed to asbestos on aircraft carriers may be able to access private compensation and government benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Mesothelioma Hope can help you pursue VA benefits and other forms of financial assistance. Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide now to learn more.

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  • Increase your disability rating
  • Receive legal compensation

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List of Navy Aircraft Carriers That Used Asbestos

Roughly 60 U.S. Navy aircraft carriers are known to have used asbestos-based products up until the 1980s.

The following aircraft carriers contained asbestos:

  • USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)
  • USS America (CV-66)
  • USS Antietam (CV-36)
  • USS Bataan (CVL-29)
  • USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24)
  • USS Bennington (CV-20)
  • USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31)
  • USS Boxer (CV-21)
  • USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)
  • USS Cabot (CVL-28)
  • USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)
  • USS Constellation (CV-64)
  • USS Coral Sea (CVB-43)
  • USS Cowpens (CVL-25)
  • USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
  • USS Enterprise (CV-6)
  • USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
  • USS Essex (CV-9)
  • USS Forrestal (CV-59)
  • USS Franklin (CV-13)
  • USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42)
  • USS Hancock (CV-19)
  • USS Hornet (CV-8)
  • USS Hornet (CV-12)
  • USS Independence (CVL-22)
  • USS Independence (CV-62)
  • USS Intrepid (CV-11)
  • USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)
  • USS Kearsarge (CV-33)
  • USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)
  • USS Lake Champlain (CV-39)
  • USS Langley (CV-1)
  • USS Langley (CVL-27)
  • USS Lexington (CV-2)
  • USS Lexington (CV-16)
  • USS Leyte (CV-32)
  • USS Midway (CVB-41)
  • USS Monterey (CVL-26)
  • USS Nimitz (CVN-68)
  • USS Oriskany (CV-34)
  • USS Philippine Sea (CV-47)
  • USS Princeton (CVL-23)
  • USS Princeton (CV-37)
  • USS Randolph (CV-15)
  • USS Ranger (CV-4)
  • USS Ranger (CV-61)
  • USS Reprisal (CV-35)
  • USS Saipan (CVL-48)
  • USS San Jacinto (CVL-30)
  • USS Saratoga (CV-3)
  • USS Saratoga (CV-60)
  • USS Shangri-la (CV-38)
  • USS Tarawa (CV-40)
  • USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)
  • USS Ticonderoga (CV-14)
  • USS Valley Forge (CV-45)
  • USS Wasp (CV-7)
  • USS Wasp (CV-18)
  • USS Wright (CVL-49)
  • USS Yorktown (CV-5)
  • USS Yorktown (CV-10)

Nearly all U.S. Navy ships relied on asbestos products during this time, not just aircraft carriers. Use our free search tool below to see if a Navy ship you served on contained asbestos.

Why Was Asbestos Used on Aircraft Carriers?

Asbestos was used on aircraft carriers because it was a good insulator, cheap to buy, fire-resistant, lightweight, and soundproof.

In particular, the U.S. Navy wanted to reduce the number of serious fires on its aircraft carriers and used asbestos insulation to do so.

Products made with asbestos could also be found on flight decks and all of the aircraft that made up Navy carrier air wings, including planes and helicopters.

Asbestos is no longer used to build new military planes, ships, and other assets. However, veterans are at risk of mesothelioma today if they served aboard aircraft carriers that used asbestos decades ago.

Who Was Exposed to Asbestos on Aircraft Carriers?

Anyone who served aboard U.S. Navy aircraft carriers when asbestos was in use could have been exposed. However, some service members were at a higher risk than others depending on their occupations.

High-risk jobs on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers included:

  • Aircraft mechanics
  • Boilermakers
  • Electricians
  • Engine room technicians
  • Firefighters
  • Insulators
  • Plumbers

These roles often put Navy service members in direct contact with asbestos-containing products on a daily basis for long periods of time. This increased their chances of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases later in life.

Facing a mesothelioma diagnosis? Our Patient Advocates can see if you qualify for veterans benefits and asbestos payouts. Take the first step now by downloading our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.

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  • File for VA benefits
  • Increase your disability rating
  • Receive legal compensation

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Asbestos-Containing Products on Aircraft Carriers

The U.S. Navy used more than 300 asbestos-containing products to build its ships. This means that asbestos on aircraft carriers was widespread, affecting various components and equipment that sailors handled every day.

Asbestos-containing products on aircraft carriers included:

  • Boiler liners and blankets
  • Cement and mortar powder
  • Electric wire coating
  • Fireproofing materials
  • Firewall and heat control products
  • Floor and ceiling tiles
  • Gaskets, valves, and packing
  • Paint, sealant, caulking, and adhesives
  • Ropes and cables
  • Spray-on and pipe-wrap insulation

Some of these products may still be found at the sites of former shipyards today, even after wide-ranging military programs to remove asbestos and other toxic substances.

In December 2023, a San Francisco woman who grew up near the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard reported elevated asbestos levels in her body after a recent cancer screening.

This shipyard was used to build and repair several Navy ships during and after World War II, including aircraft carriers like the USS Hancock (CV-19) and the USS Independence (CVL-22).

Compensation for Exposure to Asbestos on Aircraft Carriers

If you served on aircraft carriers and now have an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma, you may be able to seek compensation through the VA as well as the legal system.

Learn more about VA benefits and legal payouts for Navy veterans with mesothelioma below.

VA Benefits

By applying for VA benefits, you may be able to get tax-free monthly payments to cover your medical bills and living expenses. These benefits can also help provide financial security for your spouse, children, and other loved ones.

You may also be eligible for disability compensation if you developed mesothelioma from being exposed to asbestos on aircraft carriers. Married veterans with mesothelioma are usually assigned a 100% disability rating from the VA, qualifying them for $3,946.25 per month in 2024.

Our team can help you file for VA benefits or increase your existing benefits after a mesothelioma diagnosis at no cost to you. Contact us today to learn more.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Navy veterans can also pursue compensation by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit against the makers of the asbestos-based products that caused their cancer.

Nearly all of these lawsuits end in a settlement, which means it’s likely that you won’t have to deal with the hassle of appearing in court. The average mesothelioma settlement pays victims and their families $1.1 million to $1.4 million, but some people receive more than this.

No legal action is taken against any branch of the U.S. military or government, and you can file a lawsuit without affecting your VA benefits.

We’ve secured millions for veterans harmed on aircraft carriers, including:

  • $4 million for a Massachusetts Navy veteran with pleural mesothelioma after serving on the USS Randolph
  • $3.47 million for the family of a Tennessee Navy veteran with pleural mesothelioma who served on the USS San Jacinto
  • $3.42 million for a Navy veteran who served on the USS Enterprise and USS Canal and later developed pleural mesothelioma
  • $3.37 million for an Idaho Navy veteran with pleural mesothelioma who spent time on the USS Wasp
  • $3.17 million for a Georgia Navy veteran who developed pleural mesothelioma after working in the engine room of the USS Essex

Get a free legal consultation today to see if our partner firm can help your family too.

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  • No stress or upfront fees
  • Get money within 90 days

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Shara Fisher
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17+ years providing legal help to mesothelioma victims

Asbestos Trust Funds

Asbestos trust funds are another option for compensation for veterans who were exposed to asbestos on aircraft carriers.

Many companies that used asbestos in their products, including those involved in shipbuilding, established asbestos trust funds to compensate those who suffered harm due to asbestos exposure.

These trust funds were often created as part of bankruptcy proceedings by companies facing a flood of lawsuits from asbestos victims. More than $30 billion is available across 60+ active asbestos trusts as of 2024.

How We Can Help Veterans Exposed to Asbestos on Aircraft Carriers

Thousands of veterans have developed mesothelioma from being exposed to asbestos on aircraft carriers while bravely serving their country.

Mesothelioma Hope is committed to helping military families get the resources they need to fight this cancer.

Our team of Patient Advocates and fellow veterans can help you:

  • File for or increase your mesothelioma VA benefits
  • Get medical care from top doctors and hospitals
  • Pursue legal payouts worth $1 million or more
  • Find justice and peace of mind after a diagnosis

Call (866) 608-8933 or download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide to get started.

Asbestos on Aircraft Carriers FAQs

Do aircraft carriers have asbestos?

Asbestos is no longer used to build aircraft carriers, but some older Navy aircraft carriers and other ships may still have asbestos-containing products onboard.

Since the dangers of asbestos became public knowledge in the late 1970s and early 1980s, existing aircraft carriers have had asbestos-containing materials removed to ensure the safety of their crew members and maintenance workers.

When did they stop using asbestos in Navy ships?

The Navy banned the use of asbestos on aircraft carriers and other vessels starting in the early 1980s.

But, before this time, asbestos was used on almost every Navy ship because of the mineral’s heat-resistant and fireproof qualities.

It was common to find asbestos in engine and boiler rooms, pipe insulation, gaskets, deck coverings, and fireproofing materials.

The Navy stopped using asbestos in aircraft carriers and other ships once health dangers were revealed, following decades of cover-up by asbestos companies.

Did the USS America have asbestos?

Yes, the USS America is one of the dozens of U.S. aircraft carriers built with asbestos.

If you served aboard the USS America or another Navy ship before the early 1980s, you may have been exposed to asbestos products and could be at risk of mesothelioma. Call our team at (866) 608-8933 to learn what you can do next.

Was there asbestos on the USS Enterprise?

Yes, both the USS Enterprise CV-6 and the USS Enterprise CVN-65 contained asbestos-containing materials in various components, such as insulation, gaskets, and fireproofing materials.

The highest concentration of these could be found in the engine and boiler spaces of the ship, putting those who worked in these areas at the greatest risk of asbestos exposure and related illnesses like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

Did the USS Ranger have asbestos?

Yes. The USS Ranger (CV-4) as well as the USS Ranger (CV-61) were both built with asbestos-containing materials.

Anyone who served aboard these aircraft carriers, or any other Navy ship that used asbestos, could be at risk of mesothelioma today.

 

Attorney Brian CookeReviewed by:Brian J. Cooke

Partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy & U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

  • Fact-Checked
  • Legal Editor

Attorney Brian Cooke is a partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy and a proud U.S. Marine Corps veteran. With over 20 years of experience fighting for justice on behalf of his clients, Brian has successfully secured millions in compensation for mesothelioma patients and their families.

  • Practicing Attorney Since 2000
  • Handled Hundreds of Asbestos Cases
  • Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps
Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

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References
  1. Absher, J. (2020, October 07). Asbestos illness related to military service. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from https://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/asbestos-and-the-military-history-exposure-assistance.html
  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (n.d.). Asbestos Fact Sheet. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tfacts61.pdf
  3. Farley, J. (2019, July 18). Asbestos cleanups coming to dry docks at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/2019/07/18/asbestos-cleanups-coming-dry-docks-puget-sound-naval-shipyard/1762098001/
  4. Owens Corning v. Leroy A. Bauman, et al. 125 Md. App. 454 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1999). Retrieved May 22, 2024, from https://casetext.com/case/owens-corning-v-bauman
  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). Veterans asbestos exposure. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/asbestos/
  6. War Related Illness and Injury Study Center. (n.d.). Asbestos Fact Sheet. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from https://www.warrelatedillness.va.gov/WARRELATEDILLNESS/education/factsheets/asbestos-exposure.pdf
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