The Brooklyn Navy Yard, formally known as U.S. Navy Yard-New York, is among the most productive and influential naval bases in United States history. The Brooklyn Navy Yard employed thousands of workers who built and repaired over 130 war ships for the U.S. Navy. Unfortunately, many Brooklyn Navy Yard workers were exposed to asbestos, a toxic fibrous mineral, causing them to suffer severe and fatal diseases including Mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.

Brooklyn Navy Yard History

In 1801, the United States government purchased a forty-acre land plot in Brooklyn, New York from John Jackson for $40,000. The government converted the property into a naval base. In 1806, the Brooklyn Navy Yard began operation. In 1814, the first steam powered war ship was built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Brooklyn Navy Yard during WWI and WWII

The Brooklyn Navy Yard flourished during World War I. Employment at the Brooklyn Navy Yard climbed to 16,000 men.  During WWI, shipbuilding technology dramatically improved allowing the Brooklyn Navy Yard to produce sophisticated and innovated war ships at a blistering pace.

During World War II, the Brooklyn Navy Yard reached its peak.  Its employee base soared over 70,000 and included many women. Open 24 hours a day, the Brooklyn Navy was among the leading U.S. war ship producers. The Brooklyn Navy Yard’s facility grew to over 200 acres and contained:

  • Four dry docks
  • Two steel shipways
  • A power plant
  • A radio station
  • Five miles of paved roads 

In 1966, the U.S. Navy sold the Brooklyn Navy Yard to New York City. New York City converted the property into newly renovated industrial space.

Brooklyn Navy Yard Asbestos

Brooklyn Navy Yard’s employees were exposed to high asbestos levels. Asbestos was used for ship construction because it’s a fireproof insulator. During ship construction and repairs, asbestos fibers were released and airborne.  Unfortunately, asbestos dust was inhaled by many Navy Yard workers and caused severe and fatal cancers.

The following ship components and products contained asbestos at the Brooklyn Naval Yard:

  • Boilers
  • Turbines
  • Pumps
  • Gaskets
  • Floor and ceiling tiles
  • Welding blankets
  • Building insulation

Authorities estimate that over 100,000 shipyard workers have died from asbestos related diseases during the World War II time period including thousands from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Injured at Brooklyn Navy Yard – New York

Juries have awarded millions of dollars to injured Brooklyn Navy Yard employees for their medical bills and pain and suffering. If you or a loved has been injured while working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, please contact us today as you may be entitled to compensation.

Published November 17, 2011 by