The Galveston Docks have been an important shipbuilding site for both public and private interests in Texas ever since the Civil War era. One key shipyard was that of Kane Shipbuilding, which benefited from the pressing naval need during World War I, along with many other shipyards that flourished during this period. The most important company was, however, Todd Shipyards, which in 1934 purchased a tanker-repair site in Galveston.
Between WWI and WWII, the shipyard was busy and successful, since Todd Shipyards quickly caught on to the industrywide changeover to using oil instead of coal as fuel. The docks truly became a hub during WWII, when the shipyard turned out ship after ship for the U.S. Navy. In fact, by the end of the war, Todd Shipyards employed 57,000 people and had produced (at its multiple sites) 1,000 ships.
The company enjoyed continued success after the war, but began to decline through the 1980s. In 1990 it closed its Galveston shipyard. Today, the Galveston Port is home to other shipyards, shipping companies and cruise lines.
Like many shipyards, the Galveston Docks were built using large quantities of asbestos. It was a natural choice for construction, since in addition to being a cheap and abundant mineral, its fibers are strong and heat resistant.
Shipyards like the ones in Galveston used asbestos in insulation, plumbing, boilers, and in other systems and areas. In the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency began to impose strict regulations on asbestos use, as it was finally determined that exposure to the substance can be deadly.
Still, many construction sites failed to protect their workers adequately from the already present asbestos. Ventilation in shipyards was often minimal, and when asbestos-containing material was broken down, workers could inhale the floating asbestos dust.
Just as asbestos rarely breaks down in construction materials, it is also horribly durable in the human body. The particles cling to lung tissue, and, over the course of years, lead to cancerous plaques. Asbestos exposure is the sole known cause of mesothelioma, a rare and very deadly form of cancer found in the thin lining around the lungs and chest and heart.
If you developed mesothelioma as a result of working at the Galveston Docks, you are certainly not alone. Shipbuilders are among the workers most at-risk for developing mesothelioma if they worked during the period in which asbestos was widely used.
Symptoms can take more than 30 years to appear, and the disease can be difficult to diagnose. Nonetheless, when it finally comes, a diagnosis of mesothelioma is devastating, as there is no known cure.
If this sounds like you or a loved one’s experience, you may be entitled to compensation. The lawyers at Kraft & Associates, P.C., are all highly experienced and professional. You can schedule a free consultation and claim evaluation by calling (214) 999-9999 or by contacting us online.