Skip to main content

Asbestos Exposure

Filing Todd Shipyard Mesothelioma & Lung Cancer Claims

Nationwide Success

Asbestos Cancer Attorneys

representing plaintiffs in Todd Shipyards asbestos exposure, Mesothelioma & Lung Cancer Claims

For the last hundred years, Naval servicemen, shipbuilders and shipyard workers have faced an elevated risk of asbestos exposure and related illnesses. Especially before 1980, it is likely that workers in the shipbuilding industry were handling hazardous materials and working around high levels of asbestos, increasing the chances of later developing diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma. Former workers at shipyards operated by Todd in Galveston, New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Alameda and Seattle were at risk. 

One study, published by the Ulster Medical Society, indicated shipyard workers have an asbestosis mortality rate many times greater than other reviewed occupations. Authorities have estimated that thousands of shipyard workers—many in Texas, Washington, Louisiana and California—have died as a result of occupational asbestos exposure.

Todd Shipyards Asbestos Toxic Exposure

Todd Shipyards was at one point one the largest private shipbuilding company in the United States. Todd now only operates one shipyard in Seattle, Washington, through a subsidiary, Todd Pacific Shipyards, which repairs, overhauls, converts, and constructs commercial and military vessels. But Todd operated shipyards in New York, Houston, California and Washington in its long history that began over a hundred years ago.

At its peak in the 1980s, Todd Shipyards operated seven shipyards and collected nearly $800 million in annual revenue. The shipbuilder had many good years, perhaps starting during World War II when Todd built or repaired 23,000 ships in many shipyards with over 55,000 workers.

After the war, however, into the 1970s, the company focused on the private sector, and by the 1980s, they operated shipyards in Brooklyn, New Orleans, Houston, Galveston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Todd Shipyards scaled down its operations as financial pressures hit the company in the 1980s, as did a first wave of litigation from former workers that fell ill and were diagnosed with cancers due to toxic exposure in their shipyards.

The Los Angeles shipyard was closed in 1989, its Aro Corp. pneumatic tools subsidiary was sold to Ingersoll-Rand Co. in 1990, and the Galveston shipyard was closed, leaving only the Seattle-based Todd Pacific Shipyard.

Todd Shipyards has faced hundreds of asbestos cancer claims since the 1990s and has settled many cases from plaintiffs that worked in various shipyards. Toxic exposure at Todd Shipyards may have included moderate concentrations of asbestos. According to a 2017 study published in the Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, shipyard workers exposed to a moderate amount of asbestos were around four times more likely to die of mesothelioma. It is generally believed in the medical community that the more exposure faced, the higher the risk at later developing cancer.

Todd Shipyards Locations

  • Todd Pacific Shipyards, Los Angeles Division, San Pedro, California.  Formerly Los Angeles Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Corporation, opened in 1917 and closed in 1989. It is now part of the Port of Los Angeles, and has been completely converted into a container terminal.

  • Todd Alameda (San Francisco Division), Alameda, California. Mostly used as a repair or conversion facility, then closed in 1956. The Bethlehem Alameda Works Shipyard was leased by Todd.

  • Puget Sound, Washington. Todd Tacoma Division, Commencement Bay, Tacoma, Washington. The yard is now owned and operated by Vigor.

  • Todd Bremerton Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington is a satellite ship repair yard near the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

  • Todd Everett Shipyard served the Washington State Ferries and the United States Navy since the 1960s.

  • Todd Galveston, Texas. The Pelican Island Galveston yard was used only for ship repair and in 1965 also started tanker conversions. Todd Galveston yard closed in 1990.

  • Todd Houston Shipbuilding, in Houston, Texas, was a shipyard operated by Todd Shipbuilding Corp. and Kaiser Corp. to build ships for World War II.

Why Was Asbestos Used in Shipyards?

The level of toxicity of asbestos was not always known and because it was effective at resisting corrosion and high heat, it was seen as an ideal material for shipbuilding.

Before it was common knowledge that it caused cancer, the U.S. Navy authorized the use hundreds asbestos-containing products for its vessels. As the use of the materials increased, health professionals were eventually able to see the toxicity of the materials by locating cancer clusters in certain occupations and workplaces. 


Please complete the form below for a FREE consultation.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.

The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.


The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.

Were Todd Shipyards Workers at High Cancer Risk?

Many Naval servicemen and civilians in the shipbuilding industry before the 1990s were probably at an elevated risk. Asbestos was breaking down and creating a fine toxic dust in enclosed spaces on ships. 

Asbestos was used throughout boiler rooms, engine rooms and sleeping quarters as insulation, pipe coverings and even in the paint covering ships. Navy Veterans have been especially hard-hit by exposure-related illnesses. Claims are handled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and can also file personal injury claims against the companies that manufactured these toxic products. 

Because of the delayed symptoms, sometimes up to 40 years after first exposure, many former shipyard workers in California, Washington, Texas and Louisiana are still being diagnosed with cancers caused by workplace exposure decades ago. 

The Dangers of Shipyard Asbestos

    Asbestos was used at Todd Shipyards in various areas of the vessels, packing machinery and equipment, including:

    • Boilers
    • Turbines
    • Electrical and plumbing insulation
    • Pumps
    • Steam pipe
    • Incinerators
    • Gaskets
    • Valves
    • Welding blankets
    • Pipe insulation
    • Adhesives
    • Paint
    • Packing material

    People who worked for any period of time at Todd Shipyards are still at risk for developing serious health complications from asbestos exposure. If you or loved one develop symptoms of respiratory and lung disease, contact a medical professional and an asbestos lawyer as soon as possible. 

    photo of attorney Joe Lyon
    A Voice for Those who have suffered
    Can I Still File a Toxic Exposure Lawsuit?
    Due to the long latency period of asbestos cancers like mesothelioma and lung cancer, an occupational lung disease might not be diagnosed until many years after initial exposure. Our lawyers can investigate your case and file a claim with the proper asbestos trust fund to get you rightful compensation.


    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    Your Right to Workplace Safety
    Do I Have an Asbestos Cancer Claim?

    Asbestos was regularly found in many shipyards and Naval bases up until the 1980s. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), several different shipbuilding occupations could expose workers to asbestos. Contact our lawyers with your documented work history and medical records. 

    Our Victories

    The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to asbestos exposure.


    Asbestos (Mesothelioma)


    Asbestos (Mesothelioma)