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Page Title: Asbestos Health Hazards
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Asbestos  removals  are  limited  to  intermediate maintenance   activities,   shipyards,   or   contractors. Aboard ship you cannot remove asbestos insulation except in an operational emergency approved by the commanding   officer. The Navy Asbestos Control Program, which is part of the NAVOSH Program, ensures compliance with OSHA  regulations.  It  also  prevents  the  exposure  of  any Navy personnel to asbestos. The program covers the following  areas: Identifying  asbestos  hazards Controlling asbestos in the work environment Following  strict  work  practices Properly  disposing  of  asbestos  waste Establishing an asbestos medical surveillance program Protecting  the  environment Training people to recognize asbestos hazards and  observe  necessary  precautions The program’s purpose is to protect personnel who, through their job or in emergency situations, come into contact   with   asbestos.   If   personnel   must   handle asbestos,   we   must   ensure   they   have   the   proper protection and training. The  Navy  follows  upon  the  health  of  personnel  who may have been exposed to asbestos in their current work or in the past through the Asbestos Medical Surveillance Program. This program monitors the health of personnel exposed to asbestos before regulations were set. It also screens  personnel  currently  assigned  to  emergency asbestos  removal  teams. Asbestos  Health  Hazards The danger of asbestos results from the asbestos fibers that break off into small particles. These fibers are small enough that, when airborne, you can inhale them. Once deep in the lungs, the fibers cause scar tissue or tumors.  We  now  link  asbestos  fiber  exposure  with diseases   such   as   asbestosis,   lung   cancer,   and mesothelioma.  These  asbestos  diseases  may  not  show up for 15 or more years after exposure. Most cases of lung cancer in workers exposed to asbestos occur among workers  who  smoke.  Workers  who  smoke  and  are exposed to asbestos have chances 90 times greater of developing  cancer. Identifying Asbestos Can you identify asbestos? Can you tell by looking at lagging whether or not it is asbestos? The only way to  determine  if  material  contains  asbestos  is  to  analyze the materials under a microscope. Every tender and repair ship and most shore medical facilities have the microscopes needed to test materials for asbestos and to analyze suspected material. If in doubt about insulation, consider it to be dangerous. Aboard ship, anyone seeing a potential asbestos hazard (open or torn lagging) should report the hazard to the chief engineer or safety officer immediately. Controlling Exposure to Asbestos You should never try to handle, remove, or repair suspected   asbestos   material   without   proper authorization  and  special  protective  equipment.  Each ship having asbestos on board must have a trained, 3-person  asbestos  rip-out  team  for  emergencies.  This team  receives  training,  is  medically  monitored,  and  has special protective clothing and equipment available for use when needed. For detailed information on asbestos protective measures, refer to  Naval  Ships’  Technical  Manual (NSTM),  chapter 635;  Thermal,  Fire,  and  Acoustic Installation,  OPNAVINST  5100.19B,  chapter  B1;  and OPNAVINST  5100.23C,  chapter  17. LEAD  CONTROL  PROGRAM We also recognize lead as a serious health hazard. If you ingest lead, it can damage your nervous system, blood-forming   organs,   kidneys,   and   reproductive system. Although we normally associate lead in the Navy  with  lead-based  paints,  we  also  come  into  contact with  other  sources  of  lead.  To  prevent  lead  poisoning and  related  injuries  during  the  use,  handling,  removal, and melting of materials containing lead, the Navy developed the Lead Control Program. OPNAVINST 5100.23C,  chapter  21,  and  OPNAVINST  5100.19B, chapter  B10,  explain  the  Lead  Control  Program. The following items aboard ship contain lead: Batteries Pipe  joints Lead-based  paint Small  arms  ammunition Weights  and  cable  sockets 5-16

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