The Coast Guard and Asbestos

Those individuals that have served in the coast guard have just as many risks as those in the Navy and the Army when it comes to exposure to asbestos.  The small number of cases is due to the fact that the size of the branch is much smaller than its military counterparts.


Not Prepared for Asbestos

There are a lot of different things that the Coast Guard is prepared for but there’s no way they can prepare for mesothelioma.  Because the men and women that have served in the Coast Guard have been exposed to asbestos, if they do develop mesothelioma they are entitled to benefits through the VA.

What the Coast Guard Needs to Know

Increased Asbestos Exposure

More and more ships were used to help with the war effort during WWII. Because of this, these military professionals have the highest rate of exposure when it comes to asbestos-related illnesses.  

Shipyards

Most of the asbestos was found in shipyards and on the ships.  The highest number of mesothelioma cases came out of the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard.

Benefits Through the VA

Individuals that have developed mesothelioma, and that were in the Coast Guard, will be entitled to benefits.  These people simply have to make the decision to work with a professional that is able to link them with the resources.

Responsibility Placed on the Manufacturer

It is really important to make sure that you really understand the fact that the Coast Guard is not at fault for the exposure.  This is placed on the manufacturer because they did not tell others about the dangers of the asbestos that they were using.


Exposure to Coast Guardsman

Many Coast Guardsmen have the same exposure risk to asbestos as those individuals that served in the Navy.  This is because the asbestos was used with the ships that the Coast Guardsmen were on.  While there may not be as many cases of mesothelioma with the Coast Guard as there are when it comes to the Navy.

Those individuals from this branch of the military that served in WWII have the highest risk.  This is in comparison to those individuals that have served in other conflicts.  This is because the ships being produced actually increased during the war.  Not only that, ships that were modified for the war effort actually put individuals at a greater risk for exposure.

Ships

It goes without saying that individuals were exposed to asbestos because of the fact that it was used in the ships.  This was common until the government finally put regulations into effect during the 1980’s.  There were more than 300 different types of products used during that time that actually had asbestos in them.

Locations of asbestos on ships:

  • In the insulation
  • Wiring and equipment used for electricity
  • Pipes and fittings
  • Valves
  • Ropes
  • Coating for the decks
  • Materials for the floor
  • In engine rooms
  • In boiler rooms

When you think about the Coast Guard it is important to consider the fact that cutters were the largest ships.  They were used for extra help and they were very fast.  They also had assigned crew.  Therefore, it is really important to understand that those individuals who were on these boats were going to be continually around asbestos.  Keep in mind that they also had a great deal of asbestos in them because they were larger ships.

Other boats with asbestos:

  • Lifeboats
  • Boats for responses
  • Boats with utilities
  • Interceptors for long and short range
  • Boats for port security

Workers in the Shipyard and Their Risks

Many of the individuals that worked in the shipyards had a high exposure rate to asbestos.  Therefore, they also have a high risk of developing mesothelioma.

The Yard at Curtis Bay

You will find that the Coast Guard operates its own shipyard in Baltimore, Maryland.  It has been up and running since 1899.  The individuals that were stationed there were exposed to asbestos.  One report has shown that there is an increase in the number of individuals that have suffered from mesothelioma and other lung conditions.  It is believed that this is because of the amount of asbestos that they have been exposed to.


Taking Action

Any veteran who served in the Coast Guard who thinks they came into contact with asbestos during their service should contact the Office of Veterans Affairs.  Professionals will be able to help individuals completely understand what they are entitled to and how to go about securing these resources.  Working with a professional is a great way to decrease stress and anxiety while they may be going through a particularly difficult time.