Their Clothes Would be Full of Asbestos

Richard E. “Soupie” Desrosiers: Started in 1963 as a Pipefitter

My carpool that I was in when I started, they were all laggers. They all died. Laggers are pipe coverers. They are the ones that put all that asbestos on the pipes, the hot pipes.

I keep all the death certificates for our union. The laggers are the first ones that really passed away.

In those days, you had coveralls and you took them home. The guys would get in the car and they’d be all full of asbestos. So that was it. My whole carpool, they all went.

I used to get home at night, I had blue work clothes on. My mother would say, “Gee, what are you doing with all this?” and she’d shake the clothes out. We had one lagger, he never got it. But his wife got it. She did his laundry.

In ’75 we had a big clinic. Anybody with ten years at Electric Boat went through, and that’s when they started finding all these people.

At the time, I was alright. But now I have the pleural plaque, scarring they see on my lungs. It usually gets active when you’re 72 to 75. I’m not too far from that.