Asbestos Exposure in Coast Guard Veterans
Asbestos is the common name given to a group of six different naturally-occurring minerals that can be easily woven to create highly durable, heat-resistant products. These properties made asbestos-containing products valuable assets to all United States military branches for decades, including the Coast Guard.
Asbestos could be found in Coast Guard:
Unfortunately, any Coast Guard members who came in contact with asbestos were put in grave danger.
As asbestos-containing materials break down or become worn, they begin to release microscopic fibers into the air. If breathed in, asbestos fibers can irritate the linings of the lungs, abdominal cavity, heart, and testicles.
Over 20 to 50 years, irritation from asbestos fibers can cause victims to develop deadly health problems like asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Although the Coast Guard and other military branches undertook major asbestos removal programs in the 1980s and 1990s, it could not reverse the fact that thousands — if not millions — of people had been exposed during active duty.
Today, the following Coast Guard veterans may be at risk of mesothelioma:
- Anyone who renovated or demolished older Coast Guard assets before the mid-1990s
- Those who served on Coast Guard cutters (vessels commissioned by this military branch) constructed before 1990
- Those who worked in the Coast Guard shipyards before 1990
Sadly, mesothelioma and Coast Guard veterans are forever linked — but those affected can take action to receive medical treatments and financial compensation.
First off, they can file a claim for benefits with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA benefits can help veterans with mesothelioma access medical care and compensation if their disease is linked to service-related asbestos use.
Additionally, those affected can work with a mesothelioma lawyer to potentially receive compensation by filing either a mesothelioma legal claim or an asbestos trust fund claim.
No legal action will be taken against the U.S. Coast Guard, military, or government. Instead, these legal claims seek compensation from the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products, who knew the health risks of their goods but sold them anyway.