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Asbestos on Destroyer Escorts

From the 1930s to the early 1980s, almost all U.S. Navy destroyer escorts were built with asbestos. Asbestos kept ships durable and fireproof, but it was also life-threatening. Navy veterans exposed to asbestos on destroyer escorts could develop mesothelioma or other illnesses later in life. Learn more about the use of asbestos on destroyer escorts and how to get benefits if you have mesothelioma.

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

Last updated:

Did the Navy Use Asbestos on Destroyer Escorts?

Yes, asbestos was used on destroyer escorts and thousands of other U.S. Navy ships for decades.

Key Facts About Asbestos on Destroyer Escorts

  • Purpose: The Navy believed asbestos was safe to use as a fireproofing agent, insulator, and anti-corrosion material.
  • Products: Boilers, gaskets, pumps, valves, engines, pipes, and electrical wiring were just a few of many asbestos-containing products used on these ships.
  • Time span: All destroyer escorts built between the 1930s and early 1980s contained asbestos.

Companies that made and sold asbestos products to the Navy knew the risks but hid them to keep making money. Millions of veterans were exposed before the risks were known. And every year, many U.S. veterans are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Hope can help you pursue military benefits, financial compensation, and health care services if you were exposed to asbestos on destroyer escorts and now have mesothelioma.

Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide to learn more.

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

Get Your Free Guide

List of Destroyer Escorts That Used Asbestos

More than 500 Navy destroyer escorts were constructed with asbestos before the risks were well-known.

Some of the destroyers that used asbestos include:

  • USS Alger (DE 101)
  • USS Amesbury (DE 66)
  • USS Austin (DE 15)
  • USS Badger (DE 1071)
  • USS Barber (DE 161)
  • USS Baron (DE 166)
  • USS Bowen (DE 1079)
  • USS Carpellotti (DE 720)
  • USS Chambers (DE 391)
  • USS Cockrill (DE 398)
  • USS Crouter (DE 11)
  • USS Daniel (DE 335)
  • USS DeLong (DE 684)
  • USS Dionne (DE 261)
  • USS Donnell (DE 56)
  • USS Edsall (DE 129)
  • USS Eisele (DE 34)
  • USS Evarts (DE 5)
  • USS Finch (DE 328)
  • USS French (DE 367)
  • USS Garcia (DE 1040)
  • USS Gustafson (DE 182)
  • USS Jobb (DE 707)
  • USS Lansing (DE 388)
  • USS Lockwood (DE 1064)
  • USS Marsh (DE 699)
  • USS McAnn (DE 73)
  • USS McGinty (DE 365)
  • USS Moore (DE 240)
  • USS Oswald (DE 71)
  • USS Slater (DE 766)

Don’t see your ship listed? Use our search tool to find the ship(s) you served on.

Where Was Asbestos Used in Destroyer Escorts?

Asbestos products could be found in many locations throughout destroyer escorts because they helped keep the ships soundproof, well-insulated, and fireproof.

Asbestos-containing products used on destroyer escorts included:

  • Boilers
  • Deck covering material
  • Engines
  • Gaskets
  • Pipe insulation
  • Pumps
  • Turbines
  • Valves
  • Wiring

As these products wore down or were disturbed, they could release tiny asbestos fibers into the air.

Any Navy service members nearby could breathe in or swallow these fibers and develop asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis 10-50 years later.

Who Was Exposed to Asbestos on Destroyer Escorts?

All U.S. Navy veterans who served aboard destroyer escorts before the early 1980s were in danger of exposure. This is because every Navy destroyer escort used asbestos before this time.

Those at the highest risk, however, worked with asbestos on destroyer escorts every day as part of their jobs.

Veterans who served in these roles had a high risk of asbestos exposure:

  • Boiler tenders
  • Electricians
  • Engine room workers
  • Hull maintenance workers
  • Insulators
  • Mechanics
  • Pipefitters
  • Shipyard workers
  • Steamfitters
  • Welders

Compensation for Exposure to Asbestos on Destroyer Escorts

If you served on a Navy destroyer escort and now have mesothelioma, you could qualify for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as well as other forms of financial compensation.

Top financial options include:

  • VA benefits: U.S. veterans with mesothelioma typically qualify for 100% disability payouts (worth nearly $4,000 a month in 2024) and low-cost or free treatments through the VA health care system. Mesothelioma Hope can help you file a VA claim or increase your VA rating after a diagnosis.
  • Mesothelioma lawsuits: The average mesothelioma lawsuit awards $1 million or more, which can be life-changing for you and your family. Our team can file a lawsuit on your behalf, with no legal action taken against any branch of the U.S. military or government and without affecting your VA benefits.
  • Asbestos trust fund claims: Trusts were set up by bankrupt asbestos companies to pay victims. There’s over $30 billion already set aside in asbestos trust funds, and we can help you access some of this compensation if you’re eligible.

Learn about all the financial aid options available to you with our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.

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

Get Your Free Guide

Help for Navy Veterans Exposed to Asbestos on Destroyer Escorts

U.S. Navy veterans served aboard destroyer escorts and other vessels with pride, putting their lives on the line to protect our country. None of them should have been put at risk of deadly illnesses like mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Hope is here to help Navy veterans who were harmed by asbestos on destroyer escorts.

Our team of VA-accredited agents, Patient Advocates, and nurses can connect you or a loved one with top military, medical, and financial resources right now so you can find peace of mind after a diagnosis.

Download our Veterans Compensation Guide for free or call (866) 608-8933 to connect with us now. There are no out-of-pocket costs to work with our team.

FAQs About Asbestos on Destroyer Escorts

What U.S. Navy ships had asbestos?

Before the dangers of asbestos became known in the 1980s, almost every U.S. Navy ship contained asbestos products. This included over 500 destroyer escorts.

The Navy required the use of asbestos on destroyer escorts and other Navy ships because it was highly effective at fireproofing, insulating, and soundproofing.

When did the Navy stop using asbestos in ships?

New Navy shipbuilding projects stopped using asbestos in the early 1980s, and steps were taken to remove asbestos from any active vessels.

No Navy destroyer escorts use asbestos today, according to a 2023 review of the Naval Vessel Register.

Asbestos use is now highly regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

What should I do if I was exposed to asbestos on destroyer escorts?

If you were exposed to asbestos on destroyers, make sure to see a doctor if you start to feel unwell. Doctors can determine if any symptoms stem from an asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma or not and recommend treatment options.

You can also reach out to Mesothelioma Hope to get help finding top doctors, VA benefits, and financial aid. Call (866) 608-8933 to get started.

Written 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 November 14, 2023, from
  2. Naval Vessel Register (n.d.). Active Vessels. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (2023, July 18). Veterans asbestos exposure. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from
  4. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (2022, March 2). Researching Asbestos aboard US Naval Vessel up through 1961. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from

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