A battle that took place during the Civil War shaped America´s boatbuilding industry for the XXth century. The combat between the USS Monitory and the Merrimack, with its long-lasting exchange of cannon balls, made it very clear that the ships of the future would have to be made of iron. From that moment, the industries of steel and iron have been connected to boatbuilding. The San Francisco Bethlehem Steel Shipyards were born out of a company called Union Brass and Iron Works. When ships started being made of steel, Bethlehem bough the shipyard, in the beginning of the 20th century.
Up until 1950, San Francisco was a central location for boatbuilding. During the First World War, Bethlehem became one of the most important battle ship building sites on the Pacific Coast. When the Second World War started, the shipyard was too outdated for building ships, and it was devoted to maintenance and repairs. After shifting hands many times, the shipyard has survived till our day.
Shipyard work tends to be heavy and often hazardous. Besides the profession´s known hazards, people employed at Bethlehem and other similar shipyards suffered fro exposure to a toxic material they weren´t even aware of. Largely used on ships during the last century, asbestos was chosen because of its superior insulation powers.
People who worked in asbestos-rich environments, such as shipyards, are in great danger of having been exposed to the potentially lethal inhalation of asbestos particles. This can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma; three conditions that have one to five decade-long latency periods and turn out to be lethal in many of the cases. If you ever worked at Bethlehem Steel Shipyards or any other similar facility, you should immediately consult a physician. Legal counsel would also be in order, as you may be entitled to substantial compensation from your former employers. The Weitz & Luxenberg Asbestos Lawyers have over twenty years of experience in asbestos cases, and they are prepared to provide you with a complimentary case assessment.