The Coast Guard, known as “America’s Oldest Maritime Defender,” was established in 1790, at which time it was the only armed force serving our nation at sea until the Navy Department came into existence eight years later. Guided by the motto “Semper Paratus” (“Always Ready”), the Coast Guard is one of the United States’ five branches of military service dedicated to the defense and preservation of our nation. The primary responsibilities of those men and women who serve in the Coast Guard are maritime safety, security, and stewardship.
Where Coast Guard Veterans Were Exposed to Asbestos
Coast Guard veterans were exposed to asbestos in many of the same ways as their fellow comrades in the Navy—primarily aboard ships and in shipyards where the extent of asbestos use was widespread. Employed for its superior fire- and heat-resistant properties, asbestos was utilized in all areas of Coast Guard vessels with the intent of limiting the chances of a fire while at sea—a top priority in the design and construction of ships in all maritime fleets of the armed forces.
Extensive asbestos exposure occurred in shipyards where vessels were constructed, renovated, and demolished. During these key phases conducted by the ship building industry were when asbestos fibers were most likely to become airborne, posing the greatest risk for dangerous exposure by Coast Guard veterans. The Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, located in Maryland just south of Baltimore, has served for over a century and remains today the Coast Guard’s sole shipbuilding and repair facility. Thus, this shipyard was a primary occupational exposure site for veterans of the Coast Guard—especially for those veterans who served during the span of time ranging from the 1930s-1980s when asbestos use was at its peak.
Asbestos exposures from past decades have an impact on current day mortality.
A study published in 2007 in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine examined mortality among shipyard Coast Guard workers employed at the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard from 1950-1964. A fivefold excess mortality from mesothelioma in men employed by this shipyard was observed suggesting the widespread use of and exposure to asbestos at this location.
Coast Guard Veterans with Mesothelioma: Legal Rights and Compensation
While rates of mesothelioma diagnoses among Coast Guard veterans may seem low in comparison to Navy veterans, one must take into account the relatively small size of this particular military branch.
If you honorably served your country as a member of the Coast Guard and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is likely that you were exposed to asbestos during your time in service. As a result of your exposure and subsequent injury, you may be entitled to compensation from the companies who manufactured the asbestos products you were exposed to, as well as benefits from the VA. Your loved ones may also be entitled to similar compensatory benefits if there is the possibility of a mesothelioma diagnosis due to second-hand exposure to asbestos. Please fill out the form on this page for assistance in acquiring your VA benefits and further information about your mesothelioma diagnosis, including treatment options and how to gain access to the country’s leading physicians who treat this disease.
Author: Tara Strand
Senior Content WriterRead about Tara
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
GOCOASTGUARD.COM. https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard. Updated October 28, 2016.
Krstev S, Stewart P, Rusiecki J, et al. Mortality among shipyard Coast Guard workers: a retrospective cohort study. Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 2007;64(10):651-658. doi: 10.1136/oem.2006.029652.