Veterans who worked in the US Coast Guard probably experienced as much exposure to asbestos fibers as those in the Navy did.
Before researchers linked asbestos exposure with mesothelioma, the US Navy and Coast Guard used these products widely as a way to prevent fires on ships. In fact, these two military branches have a higher risk of exposure than any other branch.
Small Percentage of Cases
Despite being at a higher risk, Coast Guard veterans experience fewer cases of this illness largely from the fact that this military branch is much smaller than the others. When the military used asbestos, they had no idea that this could be harmful. Some private corporations knew, but they chose to cover it up instead of helping the public. People who have received a diagnosis because of exposure while serving in the military could be entitled to benefits.
Low-Cost Treatment through the VA
In the past, the VA healthcare system was undependable and difficult to get care. You couldn’t trust that you would receive quality care and this cancer acts aggressively. You need to respond to it quickly for the best results. Nowadays, the VA healthcare system has become as good as the public system, or better. You can trust that you will receive quality care.
Filing a Claim
It can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years before this disease presents itself. In fact, it wasn’t until the early 1980s that researchers discovered these products could be harmful.
Filing for VA benefits can be tricky and it is essential to have proper documentation for it. You will need to provide a written summary of the illness so that you can further proceed with the filing.
In addition, you may want to file a claim for:
- Caregiving services
- Lost income
- Miscellaneous costs not covered
Which Veterans Have the Highest Risk of Developing the Illness?
Those who worked in the shipyards using these products will have the highest risk. Researchers also found this substance in the barracks of the shipyards. In fact, all of the buildings had roofing shingles that were made from asbestos products. This branch of the military used these products up until the 1970s, when the federal government began to regulate the use of this product. The service members of this branch with the highest risk include cargo ship inspectors, shipyard insulation workers and engine and boiler room maintenance staff because of a high risk of exposure.