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Asbestos Exposure in the Coast Guard

Coast Guard veterans were exposed to asbestos on ships and at shipyards for decades. They often handled dangerous asbestos-containing materials without personal protective gear in small, poorly ventilated spaces. Service members who developed asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma in the Coast Guard deserve compensation. The respected asbestos legal team at Bergman Oslund Udo Little is here to help.

Asbestos was widely used in the military until the 1970s because of its effectiveness as an inexpensive insulator and fire retardant. The Coast Guard used asbestos products extensively on ships and in shipyards, putting servicemembers at risk of exposure and later illness.

The effects of asbestos typically don’t manifest themselves until decades later in the form of asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other forms of cancer. Our experienced legal team at  Bergman Oslund Udo Little helps mesothelioma Coast Guard victims get compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages no matter how long ago their exposure.

Coast Guard Veterans and Asbestos Exposure

The United States Coast Guard and other military branches used asbestos-based products in ships, planes, vehicles, and buildings. Asbestos is a strong fiber that withstands heat. Asbestos products are inexpensive to manufacture, making them a popular choice for military and civilian builders.

Researchers started warning of the potential health hazards of asbestos exposure as early as the 1920s. The government began strictly regulating its use in the 1970’s. However, the restrictions came well after millions of military members, including Coast Guard personnel, were exposed. Given the prominence of shipyards in the Pacific Northwest, many people in our area were exposed and have developed asbestos-related illnesses.

The human body is not able to clean itself of asbestos fibers, so they can gather in organs such as the lungs. Coast Guard veterans exposed decades ago now experience asbestos-related illnesses, with asbestos exposure the only known cause of mesothelioma.

Coast Guard Jobs with Highest Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Coast Guard veterans who held certain occupations had a higher risk of exposure depending on the location of asbestos at job sites. They handled asbestos materials, often in close quarters, without proper ventilation or protective gear.


Coast Guard mechanics worked on Navy and Coast Guard ships and components made with asbestos. They were also frequently exposed to asbestos thermal insulation. Mechanics often handled parts by moving them back and forth and adjusting them, freeing asbestos fibers into the air. 

Mechanics also fixed heating and ventilation systems, hydraulic systems, internal combustion engines, and other sources of toxic asbestos. They also maintained equipment like pumps, valves, and turbines.  These components contained asbestos in external insulation, gaskets and packing.

Shipyard Workers

Coast Guard shipyard workers faced the risk of asbestos exposure from docked ships and on-site buildings. Asbestos in shipyards can be found in pipe coverings, bulkhead panels, machinery parts, insulation, ceiling and floor tiles, gaskets and packing.

Asbestos use was pervasive at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Our skilled Bergman Oslund Udo Little attorneys have secured millions of dollars in damages for clients who contracted asbestos illnesses due to exposure there.

Boiler Technicians

The Coast Guard used asbestos in insulation and refractory around boilers because it suppresses heat and fire. The material is found around steam and hot water boilers, often in small rooms with inadequate circulation.

Boiler technicians, particularly before the advent of more technologically advanced controls, worked with and close to asbestos materials. As part of repair work or general maintenance, asbestos was disturbed and released into the air.

Construction Workers

Coast Guard construction workers are responsible for new buildings and the renovation of older ones. Workers ripping out old insulation or tearing up floors or ceilings had no idea they were releasing and breathing in toxic asbestos fibers.

List of U.S. Coast Guard Cutters with Asbestos

The Coast Guard acknowledges that cutters constructed before 1991 contain asbestos materials such as insulation and floor tiles. It maintains a list of cutters in service from 1990 to 2017 that contained. Other Coast Guard boats, such as tugs, utility boats, interceptors, and icebreakers, were also built using asbestos.

The list contains the names of hundreds of Coast Guard vessels, demonstrating the extent to which shipbuilders used asbestos and veterans were exposed. People in high-risk jobs, such as mechanics and boiler technicians, had increased exposure.

What Compensation Can Coast Guard Veterans Claim?

Coast Guard veterans can collect damages for their asbestos-related illnesses in several ways. Obtaining one does not preclude you from pursuing others. Talk to a respected Bergman Oslund Udo Little asbestos lawyer in Oregon or Washington to determine your best course of action.

VA Claims

Coast Guard veterans with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer related to asbestos exposure during their service are eligible to apply for VA disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans with service-connected mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are eligible for VA benefits such as monthly compensation, VA health care, and access to VA programs.

You do not need an attorney when filing a VA claim, but having an experienced asbestos lawyer from Bergman Oslund Udo Little can help the process go smoothly. We have decades of combined experience helping veterans and their loved ones navigate the VA claims system. 

Our lawyers can help you through the complicated VA appeals process if your claim is rejected.

Mesothelioma Claims

If you have developed an illness from asbestos exposure during your Coast Guard service, you can pursue damages through a mesothelioma lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers and suppliers. These cases can be complex since exposure happened decades ago, and you may have had more than one exposure point.

 You may be able to pursue economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate for verifiable losses, such as medical fees and lost wages. Non-economic damages cover harder-to-quantify losses, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

If a family member has died from mesothelioma or another illness caused by exposure in the Coast Guard, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for the deceased’s burial and funeral costs, lost wages, and loss of consortium. 

An asbestos lawyer in Washington or Oregon can investigate your case, determine the liable parties, and collect the necessary evidence. We seek relief on your behalf through the settlement process or in court if necessary. We will prepare you for any depositions or testimony, answer questions from you and your family, and treat you with the compassion and respect you deserve.

Asbestos Trust Funds

In the 1970s and 80s, it became apparent that asbestos manufacturers knew of its dangers but ignored and concealed them. People began filing lawsuits for their asbestos-related illnesses, and many asbestos companies declared bankruptcy.

As part of bankruptcy proceedings, some asbestos companies were ordered to establish asbestos trust funds to compensate later victims. Some funds are no longer solvent, but others still have money remaining.

An experienced asbestos lawyer from Bergman Oslund Udo Little can review your case and determine your eligibility for trust fund compensation.

Our Mesothelioma Lawyers for U.S. Coast Guard Veterans Are Here to Help

Our asbestos lawyers at Bergman Oslund Udo Little have decades of combined experience helping military mesothelioma victims and their families. Our firm commitment to getting justice for veterans shows in our case results, including the following:

Our Pacific Northwest asbestos attorneys are recognized as Super Lawyers and by The National Trial Lawyers. We have litigated hundreds of asbestos cases, including jury trials and appeals. Our attorneys are dedicated to holding corporations responsible for putting profits over people.

Contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little For a Free Mesothelioma Coast Guard Case Review

If you were exposed to asbestos during your Coast Guard service and later developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you are entitled to compensation. Dealing with a serious illness is difficult for you and your family, and you deserve to have some of that burden lifted. We can help.

Contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little for a free mesothelioma case review. Our team will give you an honest assessment of your options and fight aggressively for you.

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520 Pike St. #1125
Seattle, WA 98101
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Portland, OR 97204
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Representing Asbestos and Mesothelioma Clients Throughout the Northwest.
Seattle Office

520 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101

Portland Office

1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204

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