Everett Naval station is a military installation located in Everett, Washington that was designed to be a U.S. Navy carrier strike home-port. Naval Station Everett is currently one of the most modern navy facilities in the United States with technological advances that are praised as being known for a reduction in environmental impact. The facility has nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, destroyers, and frigates. Everett also happens to be located in an area historically known for its use of asbestos, a dangerous material that the Environmental Protection Agency states is not safe to be exposed to even in small amounts.
Workers from many job sites in the Everett area have become ill or died from mesothelioma, cancer, and other asbestosis-related ailments. The U.S. Navy historically used the carcinogenic materials in its vessels, a practice that was especially common prior to and during World War II. Some shipyards continued to use the material for many more decades despite warnings of its dangers. The insulation materials were fire-retardant and assumed to be safe for many years, until in the 1940’s people began getting sick. As production of military vessels accelerated throughout World War II and the rates of lung cancers exponentially increased, the health department began investigating the cause of respiratory disease and ailments associated with working in naval stations and shipyards.
Even once the dangers were known, manufacturers and employers typically did not institute proper safety precautions and did not inform employees and contractors about the risks. In the 1970’s, the Navy issued a new set of safety rules to try to manage asbestos-related illnesses. Even then, the guidelines stated that asbestos-containing materials did not necessarily pose significant risk in every circumstance. This meant that some exposure was still allowed. As a result, many people who worked in Everett and other naval installations have become ill due to exposure over the years.
According to the Department of Labor, the government receives complaints about Everett Naval Station every quarter. The majority of these complaints are about safety hazards that could have caused employees to be exposed to asbestos-containing materials without the workers’ knowledge. Although no lawsuits have yet been filed against Naval Station Everett specifically due to these incidences, it can take years for symptoms of mesothelioma to manifest.
Some people do not get sick for several decades after they have been exposed to these carcinogens. Once they are diagnosed, these individuals are typically already in an advanced stage of incurable cancer. It is often the surviving loved ones who are left with the decision to pursue litigation in these cases.