Upon reading article provided it seem's clear that the Navy has basically shot themselves in the foot by extending the deadline. It is however VERY clear that Abestos is dangerous and there are other product's on the market that preform just as good or better in preformance of the material.
The other item notice in the article is the price for replacement part's, no mention of that cost per unit.
I would hope the replacement part's would be of a high priority.
I wholeheartedly agree that asbestos should not be used in any location where human beings can be exposed to fibers in the air we breathe. This would especially apply to the friable forms that can so easily be pulverized and suspended, such as in laggings and insulation.
There are, however, many applications where asbestos is still the best material in terms of getting the job done: i.e. some types of packings and some friction materials. The automotive world has adapted to the different friction characteristics of the substitute materials, and the net result is generally positive. I do read on here of applications, such as stem packing in HP steam service, where asbestos was far superior to pretty near anything that has come along to replace it.
Many of the uses we found for asbestos are such that it will "never" or rarely be fractured to such an extent that particles will become airborne; such as the aforementioned packings, tiles and linoleum, and roof and siding shingles used on homes. All the water service mains in my home village were installed in the depression era, under the WPA government program that put men to work. The original 8" and 4" lines that were installed then are made of asbestos cement, fabricated by Johns-Manville Corp. They will remain in service until some outside factor causes replacement, but not replaced just because of cancer fears.
I agree that there were many good substitutes for asbestos but some applications such as boiler manhole and handhole door gaskets continued to be best served by asbestos.
The likes of Turner Brothers UK asbestos gaskets were always tallowed to prevent loose fibres straying and once in service remained fairly safe.
The real culprit in a marine environment was asbestos lagging or insulation on steam pipes, boiler drums, valve chests and other hot surfaces and for many years this type of application allowed for a great deal of dry fibres to become airborne and breathed by humans.
Clambering around on the top of a frigate boiler steam drum while floating safety valves was more than a once in a lifetime experience for me and I well remember the dust storms created by boots trampling around in the pug type insulation.
I am sure that it was doing such tasks that gave me asbestos related plaques on my lungs and reduced my lung capacity to a last measured 69%.
Diagnosed at age sixty I thank my lucky stars that it has not advanced to something worse over the last eighteen years.
AS Dockyard apprentices we were known to pick up a wet lump from the lagger's hod and throw same at a personal target. Overalls went home thick with dust to be boiled clean in Mum's Copper.
We sometimes baulk at the extremes of current 'Health and Safety' regimes but had they been in place all those years ago there would be a whole lot more old mariners around with better hearing and a lot more puff.