During World War II the U.S Coast Guard brought Alameda land at the same time as the U.S Navy acquired land for a Naval Air Station. The surrounding area around the site of the U.S Coast Guard was already home to numerous shipbuilding and industrial companies such as Alameda Works Shipyard, Todd Shipyard, Plant Shipyard, as well as an array of other engineering corporations. The U.S Coast Guard transformed the islands 67 acres of land into solely dedicated training center facilities, barracks, mess halls and galleys, engineering and administration buildings, and an infirmary. After this initial contract had been completed in 1942, further works were carried out for additional barracks, an incinerator, anti-aircraft trainer building, and docks for small boats.
The training center was originally used to train recruits, and when initially opened on June 1, 1942 it provided accommodation for 900 men. At a later date speciality training was offered at the facility to signalmen, firemen, laundrymen, raidomen, boatswain’s mate, cooks and bakers, and volunteer port security. After the war the facility continued to operate, and became the U.S Coast Guards largest field unit on the West Coast during the 1960s, until it was shut down in 1982.
Exposure to asbestos for those living and working in and around the U.S Coast Guard Island in Alameda would have been unavoidable due to the use of many asbestos containing products and the frequent use of ships that also contained this material. Asbestos was also used in the production of many military products, significantly increasing the risk of exposure to all military members. Asbestos fibers can easily move throughout the air and spread quickly and silently, which is why it is possible for workers that did not directly handle or asbestos or asbestos containing products to still suffer from asbestos related illnesses.
Some of the different materials used in the U.S Coast Guard training facility that would have been made completely or partially from asbestos, or contained asbestos fibers, include;
- Electrical Insulation
- Boiler Room Equipment
- Plumbing and Pipe Insulation
- Welding Drops or Blankets
- Standard Multi Purpose Cloth
Asbestos is a fibrous material that attaches itself to the linings and tissue of the lungs when inhaled. Over a period of time, sometimes as much as 30 years, scar tissue can begin to form and this tissue can become malignant, resulting in lung cancer. Asbestos is directly linked with a number of respiratory ailments, but the most serious asbestos related illness is the cancer mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a terminal illness which begins on the outer lining of the lungs and eventually spreads to the lining of other organs. Organizations such as the U.S Coast Guard were well aware of the serious and dangerous effects of asbestos, yet they did nothing to ensure the safety of their workers.
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, we may be able to help you get the justice you deserve. When construction began at the U.S Coast Guard facility in Alameda, the threat of asbestos was already well understood. We are here to pursue justice against asbestos companies that knew their products were fatal, yet did nothing to warn the hard working men and women that used, or came in to contact with them. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re offering free consultations – schedule one today.