Over the last hundred years, the Great Lakes enjoyed a worldwide reputation for building and outfitting mighty ships. Our ships moved everything from iron ore to grain, spreading prosperity throughout the nation.
Shipbuilders constructed and maintained every kind of freshwater vessel, from the massive freighters of the industrial era to tugs, supply boats, ferries, fishing boats, barges and truckable barges, excursion vessels and dinner boats, research vessels, and the luxurious yachts of the rich.
Toledo, Huron, Lorain, Cleveland, Ashtabula and Buffalo all had a hand in birthing an industry that over the years employed and fed so many thousands. Celebrated names associated with shipbuilding range from Mark Hanna to George Steinbrenner.
Glory days mostly gone
The downside of those glory days was that naval operations and the shipbuilding industry also triggered deadly diseases in the form of mesothelioma and other cancers. The U.S. Navy was aware of the dangers of asbestos years before it banned it in shipbuilding. Its value in fireproofing and insulating was more important than the health of workers and sailors.
The disease continues to claim lives today
Asbestos is no longer essential to shipbuilding, just as shipbuilding on the inland seas is a shadow of its former self. But workers from that era – many of them now in their 70s and 80s – continue to come down with the symptoms of this deadly disease.
Help is available
Skilled personal injury attorneys continue to monitor the impact of asbestos use in and around the Lake Erie region. If you or a loved one is struggling with this diagnosis, seek experienced guidance for help obtaining compensation for your losses and for payment of your medical expenses.