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Asbestos on Escort Carriers

Between the 1930s and early 1980s, U.S. Navy escort carriers relied heavily on asbestos-containing products for insulation and fireproofing. However, asbestos exposure can cause Navy veterans to develop mesothelioma decades later. Mesothelioma Hope can help you or a veteran you love get VA benefits, treatment, and legal compensation after a diagnosis.

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

Last updated:

Did U.S. Navy Escort Carriers Use Asbestos?

Yes, Navy escort carriers were built with asbestos-based products for decades on end. In fact, government mandates required all U.S. Navy ships to be built with asbestos before the risks were fully known.

Key Facts About Asbestos on Escort Carriers

  • Purpose: Asbestos was a cost-effective way to fireproof, insulate, and soundproof Navy ships.
  • Products: Boilers, pumps, valves, walls, pipes, electrical wiring, and many more products were used aboard escort carriers.
  • Time span: Every carrier was built with asbestos between the 1930s and early 1980s.

Exposure to asbestos on escort carriers put U.S. veterans at risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis later in life.

Thousands of Navy veterans suffer from mesothelioma today after being exposed to asbestos on military ships 10-50 years ago.

If you or a loved one has mesothelioma after serving on escort carriers or other ships, Mesothelioma Hope can help you get military benefits, top treatments, and legal compensation. Start the process now by downloading our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.

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

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List of Navy Escort Carriers That Used Asbestos

Over 100 Navy escort carriers were built with products that contained asbestos.

Some of these escort carriers include:

  • USS Altamaha (CVE-18)
  • USS Barnes (CVE-20)
  • USS Carnegie (CVE-38)
  • USS Coral Sea (CVE-57)
  • USS Edisto (CVE-41)
  • USS Hoggatt Bay (CVE-73)
  • USS Midway (CVE-63)
  • USS Nehenta Bay (CVE-74)
  • USS Petrof Bay (CVE-80)
  • USS Salerno Bay (CVE-110)
  • USS Takanis Bay (CVE-89)
  • USS Tulagi (CVE-72)
  • USS Willapa (CVE-53)

Don’t see your ship listed above? There are many more vessels built with asbestos that aren’t listed here. Use our search tool below to find more.

Why Did the U.S. Navy Use Asbestos on Escort Carriers?

The U.S. Navy used asbestos on escort carriers and other vessels to keep them more durable.

Did You Know?

Asbestos was fireproof, soundproof, lightweight, and a good insulator. It was also cheap to purchase, which was very helpful during World War II when the Navy was trying to build as many ships as possible.

Finally, the U.S. military and general public thought asbestos wasn’t harmful. Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products knew it could cause deadly illnesses but concealed the facts to keep making money.

Who Was Exposed to Asbestos on Escort Carriers?

Any U.S. Navy veteran who served on escort carriers prior to the 1980s may have been exposed to asbestos.

This is because when asbestos products were installed, repaired, or replaced, tiny fibers could be released into the air. If asbestos fibers were breathed in or swallowed, they could get stuck in the body and eventually cause mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.

Navy service members at the highest risk of asbestos exposure worked with or around asbestos-containing products on a daily basis as part of their jobs.

These jobs may have exposed veterans to asbestos on escort carriers:

  • Aircraft mechanics
  • Boiler room workers (boilermakers)
  • Electricians
  • Firefighters
  • Engine room workers
  • Hull maintenance workers
  • Insulators
  • Machinists
  • Painters
  • Pipefitters
  • Plumbers
  • Steamfitters
  • Shipbuilding/shipyard workers
  • Welders

Did you serve aboard an escort carrier and now have mesothelioma? We may be able to help you get benefits and compensation. Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide to learn more.

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

How Was Asbestos Used on Escort Carriers?

Asbestos-containing products were used throughout escort carriers and other Navy ships. Learn about the different products and where they were used below.

  • Boilers: Asbestos was used to insulate and protect sailors from high levels of heat in boiler rooms. Boilermakers also used heat-resistant gloves that were laced with asbestos.
  • Electrical wiring: Wires were often coated with asbestos to keep them fireproof.
  • Gaskets: Gaskets were used within boilers and other parts of the ship and were constructed with asbestos to keep them sturdy.
  • Insulation: Asbestos insulation was used in the plumbing, walls, and even the paint on escort carriers and other Naval ships. This insulation protected escort carriers from heat, fire, water damage, and corrosion.
  • Piping: Pipes needed to be well-insulated and so many of them were coated with asbestos insulation.
  • Pumps and valves: By coating pumps and valves with asbestos, they could be protected from corrosion and heat damage.

Compensation for Exposure to Asbestos on Escort Carriers

You may be able to pursue compensation if you or a veteran you love has mesothelioma after serving on an escort carrier. This financial aid could pay for medical bills, basic living expenses, and other costs.

Learn more about your mesothelioma compensation options below.

VA Benefits

Veterans who developed mesothelioma that stems from their military service can file for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Top mesothelioma VA benefits include:

  • Disability payouts often worth nearly $4,000 a month in 2024
  • Free or low-cost health care from top mesothelioma doctors
  • Funeral and burial reimbursement
  • Survivors pensions and other benefits

Veterans with mesothelioma are almost always granted a 100% disability rating by the VA, meaning they get the highest financial benefits possible.

Mesothelioma Hope has VA-accredited agents on staff who can help you file a VA claim or increase your existing benefits. Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide to get started.

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

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Mesothelioma lawsuits allow veterans and civilians to get financial compensation. These lawsuits typically award $1 million or more, a significant payout to you and your family.

Mesothelioma claims are filed against the makers of asbestos products (the military and government are never sued). Our partner mesothelioma law firm can handle all of the legal work and file a lawsuit for you, so you can get compensation with less stress.

Further, you can still get VA benefits if you file a mesothelioma lawsuit.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Mesothelioma patients can also seek compensation from asbestos trust funds. Bankrupt asbestos companies were forced to set up these funds so victims could still get compensated (as bankrupt companies can’t be sued).

Trusts contain over $30 billion as of 2024. Our mesothelioma lawyers can file claims on your behalf with any trusts you qualify for. Get help filing asbestos trust fund claims now.

How We Help Veterans Harmed By Asbestos on Escort Carriers

Brave U.S. Navy veterans don’t deserve to suffer from asbestos-related illnesses. But, the awful truth is that thousands of veterans now have mesothelioma from being exposed to asbestos on escort carriers and other vessels.

Mesothelioma Hope is committed to helping veterans and civilians with mesothelioma get the resources they need to fight this cancer.

Our team can help you:

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

Get a Free Veterans Compensation Guide or call (866) 608-8933 to get started.

Asbestos on Escort Carriers FAQs

Do aircraft carriers have asbestos?

Yes, all U.S. Navy aircraft carriers had asbestos products prior to the 1980s. This included escort carriers, which were smaller and scaled-back versions of aircraft carriers.

Asbestos was used to heatproof, soundproof, and fireproof various parts of the ships, putting anyone aboard at risk of exposure and mesothelioma.

When did the Navy stop using asbestos on ships?

The U.S. Navy stopped using asbestos on escort carriers and other ships in the 1980s after it was revealed that exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma and other diseases.

Major renovation projects were undertaken to remove as many asbestos-containing products from active ships as possible.

Is there still asbestos on Navy ships?

There are no escort carriers that currently use asbestos, but a handful of older U.S. Navy vessels still have some asbestos-based products aboard.

In those cases, the products are well-secured and don’t pose a risk to human health.

What U.S. Navy ships had asbestos?

Virtually every U.S. Navy ship built between the 1930s and early 1980s had asbestos. This included more than 100 escort carriers.

The USS Carnegie, USS Midway, and USS Tulagi are just a few of the escort carriers that were built with asbestos.

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 17, 2024, from
  2. Noles, J. (July 2004). All Guts, No Glory for the Escort Carriers. Retrieved May 17, 2024, from
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (2023, July 18). Veterans asbestos exposure. Retrieved May 17, 2024, from
  4. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (2022, March 2). Researching Asbestos aboard U.S. Naval Vessel up through 1961. Retrieved May 17, 2024, from
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