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Asbestos on Cruisers

Prior to the early 1980s, almost every U.S. Navy cruiser was built with a cancer-causing mineral called asbestos. U.S. Navy veterans exposed to asbestos on cruisers or other ships could develop cancers like mesothelioma later in life. Learn how Mesothelioma Hope can help affected veterans access military benefits, medical care, and legal compensation.

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

Last updated:

Was There Asbestos on Cruisers?

Yes, asbestos could be found on Navy cruisers between the 1930s and early 1980s. Cruisers needed to be fireproof and highly durable, and asbestos-containing products helped to achieve this.

However, as Navy personnel served aboard cruisers, they could have breathed in or swallowed asbestos fibers, putting them at risk of cancers like mesothelioma later in life.

What to Know About Asbestos on Cruisers

  • Uses: Insulation, fireproofing, soundproofing, and preventing corrosion
  • Locations: Engines, boilers, gaskets, piping, pumps, valves, and turbines
  • Cruiser types: Heavy cruisers, light cruisers, command cruisers, Ticonderoga class cruisers, command light cruisers, and guided missile cruisers
  • Related illnesses: Mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis

If you or a loved one is a U.S. Navy veteran with mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos on cruisers or other vessels, we may be able to help.

Work with our team to secure benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), financial compensation, and health care from top doctors.

Learn about how we can assist you in our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.

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  • Access $30+ billion in trust funds
  • File a VA claim
  • Receive legal compensation

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List of Cruisers That Used Asbestos

Our team has identified over 130 U.S. Navy cruisers that used asbestos.

The following cruisers were built with asbestos:

  • USS Albany (CG-10)
  • USS Arkansas (CGN-41)
  • USS Bainbridge (CGN-25)
  • USS Baltimore
  • USS Belknap (CG-26)
  • USS Boston (CA-69)
  • USS Bremerton (CA-130)
  • USS Bunker Hill (CG-52)
  • USS California (CGN-36)
  • USS Canberra (CA-70)
  • USS Chicago (CG-11)
  • USS Columbus (CG-12)
  • USS Dale (CG-19)
  • USS Des Moines (CA-134)
  • USS England (CG-22)
  • USS Fox (CG-33)
  • USS Gridley (CG-21)
  • USS Halsey (CG-23)
  • USS Harry E. Yarnell (CG-17)
  • USS Helena (CA-75)
  • USS Horne (CG-30)
  • USS Houston (CL-81)
  • USS Josephus Daniels (CG-27)
  • USS Jouett (CG-29)
  • USS Leahy (CG-16)
  • USS Little Rock (CG-4)
  • USS Long Beach (CGN-9)
  • USS Los Angeles (CA-135)
  • USS Macon (CA-132)
  • USS Mississippi (CGN-40)
  • USS New Orleans (CA-32)
  • USS Newport News (CA-148)
  • USS Oklahoma City (CG-5)
  • USS Oregon City (CA-122)
  • USS Pittsburgh (CA-72)
  • USS Portsmouth (CL-102)
  • USS Providence (CG-6)
  • USS Quincy (CA-71)
  • USS Reeves (CG-24)
  • USS Richmond K. Turner (CG-20)
  • USS Rochester (CA-124)
  • USS Salem (CA-139)
  • USS San Diego (CL-53)
  • USS San Jacinto (CG-56)
  • USS South Carolina (CGN-37)
  • USS Springfield (CG-7)
  • USS Sterett (CG-31)
  • USS St. Paul (CA-73)
  • USS Texas (CGN-39)
  • USS Ticonderoga (CG-47)
  • USS Toledo (CA-133)
  • USS Valley Forge (CG-50)
  • USS Washington (CA-11)
  • USS Wilkes-Bare (CL-103)
  • USS Worden (CG-18)

Besides these cruisers, virtually all U.S. Navy ships built prior to the early 1980s likely contained asbestos. Find out if a Navy ship you served on used asbestos below.

Why Did the U.S. Navy Use Asbestos on Cruisers?

The U.S. Navy used asbestos as it could help keep its vessels fireproof and durable, and because it wasn’t aware of the deadly health risks.

Asbestos on cruisers was used to:

  • Coat electrical wiring to prevent fires
  • Line engines and boilers to cool them down
  • Protect against corrosion from saltwater
  • Provide heat-resistant insulation

Asbestos-based products were also ideal since they were cheap to purchase from manufacturers. But these manufacturers actually knew asbestos could cause serious health problems and said nothing.

The U.S. Navy stopped using asbestos in cruisers and other vessels when the risks came to light in the early 1980s — but by that point, millions had already been exposed.

Thousands of U.S. veterans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year after working with or around asbestos 10-50 years earlier.

Who Was Exposed to Asbestos on Cruisers?

Anyone who served on U.S. Navy cruisers could have been exposed to asbestos, since the vessels were cramped and disturbed asbestos fibers could linger in the air for hours.

Those serving in certain Naval jobs were at a very high risk of asbestos exposure since they worked with or around asbestos-based products on a daily basis.

Those at the highest risk of exposure to asbestos on cruisers included:

  • Boiler tenders
  • Electricians
  • Engine room workers
  • Maintenance workers
  • Pipefitters and plumbers
  • Welders

Asbestos materials were also used in shipbuilding for decades. This meant that U.S. Navy shipbuilders and shipyard workers who helped construct cruisers and other vessels were put at a high risk of exposure.

Further, family members of Navy service members who worked with asbestos on cruisers may have suffered secondhand exposure. Asbestos could attach to service members’ clothing or hair and travel home with them, exposing their loved ones.

Call (866) 608-8933 now to get help if you or a loved one has mesothelioma after serving on a U.S. Navy cruiser. You may qualify for VA benefits, legal compensation, and free or low-cost medical care with our help.

Where Was Asbestos Used on Cruisers?

Asbestos was used in a wide range of products and materials found throughout U.S. Navy cruisers.

Common products known to contain asbestos included:

  • Boilers and engines, which gave off a lot of heat
  • Electrical wiring, which had to be lined with asbestos for protection from fire
  • Gaskets, which were found in various parts of cruisers, such as in boilers
  • Insulation throughout the cruisers
  • Pumps and turbines, which moved water and converted it to steam for power
  • Valves and piping, which controlled the flow and movement of water and required ample insulation

Asbestos fibers could be released into the air when these products were installed, repaired, or replaced.

Any U.S. Navy service members nearby could have swallowed or breathed in the fibers, putting them at risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses later in life.

Compensation Options for Veterans Harmed by Asbestos on Cruisers

U.S. Navy veterans who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos on cruisers or other vessels may qualify for compensation.

Mesothelioma compensation can help veterans cover medical bills or other expenses and keep their family financially secure.

Veterans can pursue compensation by:

  • Applying for VA benefits, including monthly disability payments typically worth nearly $4,000 a month, free or low-cost care from VA mesothelioma doctors, survivor benefits, and more.
  • Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, which typically awards $1 million or more. These lawsuits are never filed against the military or government. Rather, the lawsuit demands compensation from companies that made and sold asbestos-based products.
  • Starting an asbestos trust fund claim, which allows victims to access a portion of compensation set aside by bankrupt asbestos companies. More than $30 billion is currently available in trust funds.

You may be able to access compensation from all three sources, depending on your situation. Learn more by downloading our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.

Mesothelioma veteran support guide
Free Downloadable GuideVeterans Compensation Guide
  • Access $30+ billion in trust funds
  • File a VA claim
  • Receive legal compensation

Get Your Free Guide

Settlement Amounts for Veterans Exposed to Asbestos on Cruisers

Other military veterans with mesothelioma who’ve worked with our team have been able to secure millions of dollars.

Notable mesothelioma settlements secured by our partner law firm include:

  • $2.98 million for a Navy veteran from West Virginia who developed pleural mesothelioma after spending time aboard the USS Valley Forge
  • $2.7 million for an Arizona Navy veteran who worked as an electrician’s mate on the USS Hamul, USS Lea, and USS Duluth before developing pleural mesothelioma
  • $2.44 million for a Wisconsin Navy fire control specialist with pleural mesothelioma from serving on the USS Toledo
  • $2.19 million for a Minnesota Navy fireman and machinist who spent time aboard the USS St. Paul before developing peritoneal mesothelioma
  • $2.1 million for a Navy boiler tender with pleural mesothelioma from serving on the USS Wilkes Barre and USS Little Rock

We may be able to help you or a U.S. veteran that you love get significant compensation as well.

How We Can Help U.S. Navy Cruiser Veterans With Mesothelioma

U.S. Navy veterans who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos on cruisers deserve the best financial, legal, and medical options available.

At Mesothelioma Hope, we’re dedicated to supporting veterans and military families harmed by asbestos-related diseases. Mesothelioma is stressful enough — getting VA benefits and other resources shouldn’t be.

Our team can help you:

  • Access VA benefits, including monthly payouts and health care
  • Find top mesothelioma doctors and hospitals near you
  • Secure compensation worth $1 million or more

We have mesothelioma nurses, Patient Advocates, VA-accredited lawyers, and fellow veterans on staff who can answer your questions and help you file for benefits.

Call (866) 608-8933 right now or download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide to learn more.

Asbestos on Cruisers FAQs

Do cruise ships have asbestos?

Yes, over 130 U.S. Navy cruisers used asbestos for most of the 20th century, starting before World War II and through the Vietnam War and Cold War.

Asbestos helped keep Navy cruisers well-insulated, durable, and fireproof, but they also put anyone aboard at risk of cancers like mesothelioma.

Is there still asbestos on Navy ships?

In most cases, no. None of the Navy cruisers built with asbestos are in use today, according to a 2024 review of the Naval Vessel Register.

Major renovation projects were undertaken to remove asbestos from U.S. Navy vessels and other assets in the 1980s.

Only a small handful of older Navy ships still have some asbestos products aboard today. In these cases, the products are well-contained and don’t pose a threat to human health.

What everyday products contain asbestos?

Prior to the early 1980s, everyday products used aboard Navy cruisers.

These products include:

  • Gaskets
  • Insulation
  • Piping
  • Wires

Working with or around these products could release asbestos fibers into the air, putting those nearby at risk of mesothelioma later in life.

Can you get VA disability for asbestos exposure?

Yes. You may be able to secure VA disability benefits if you were exposed to asbestos on cruisers or other Navy ships and developed a related illness like mesothelioma later in life.

To claim these benefits, you will need to submit a claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Our team can help you file for VA benefits or increase the compensation you receive if you already have them.

Learn more by calling (866) 608-8933.

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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  1. Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. (2016, November 3). Health Effects of Asbestos. Retrieved May 16, 2024, from
  2. (2022, May 13). Asbestos Illness Related to Military Service. Retrieved May 16, 2024, from
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, (2023, July 18). Veterans asbestos exposure. Retrieved May 16, 2024, from
  4. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. (2022, March 2). Researching Asbestos aboard US Naval Vessels up through 1961. Retrieved May 16, 2024, from
  5. U.S. Naval Vessel Register (n.d.). Active Vessels. Retrieved May 16, 2024, from
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