Asbestos Cleanup at Bay State Antenna Site

Carcinogenic asbestos was once heavily used in military facilities, a point a current story about a former U.S. Air Force facility underscores.

The asbestos-containing facility is in the coastal town of Ipswich, Mass., as The Salem News reports. Air Force personnel there performed antenna and radar testing and research during the Cold War. The military decommissioned and shuttered the site permanently in 2011.

The empty installation sits atop a large hill in a residential neighborhood on 65 acres of leased land on Ipswich’s Great Neck peninsula. At the request of the landowners, the military is now demolishing all the structures on the site. This potentially could have been very hazardous — but a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says that there is no danger from the abatement. That is, as long as pedestrians avoid “the restricted construction site.”

However, the workers who originally constructed the facility almost certainly faced dangerous asbestos exposure. For most of the 20th century, the military used asbestos-containing products in thousands of places. Because it was durable, fireproof, and an excellent insulator, asbestos was the go-to safety material for many military and civilian applications.

According to this government fact sheet, asbestos products used by the military included brakes, gaskets, valves, cements, adhesives, and pipe covering (lagging). The Navy especially made heavy use of asbestos in their vessels — from the engine rooms to the living quarters — before the material was phased out of use in the mid-1970s.

Asbestos exposure can cause serious illnesses, including asbestosis and lung and other cancers, such as mesothelioma. Protective gear and training would have prevented the many fatal asbestos exposures for servicemen. 

Were you diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition? Do you believe you were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military? If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, please contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.