(415) 332-4262

U.S. Coast Guard At Risk of Mesothelioma

The U.S. Coast Guard has a program in place to evaluate and monitor any servicemen who are exposed to dangerous substances called the Occupational Medical Surveillance and Evaluation Program (OMSEP).  The process behind the program is guided by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) regulations, and has specific sections dedicated to Coast Guard members who have been exposed to asbestos and run the risk of later developing mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer.

The OMSEP was initially enacted to identify work related conditions that are putting Coast Guard at risk so that modifications to the work place could be made that would prevent the exposure or, post-exposure, could help intervene or stop disease from developing or progressing.    One part of the program includes medical screenings and exams for anyone who has suspected exposure to asbestos. 

The OMSEP protocal includes the following:Image of Coast Guard boat and helicopter

  • Evaluation of Exposure to Asbestos Risk
  • Surveillance & Assessment
  • Screening & Performing of Select Tests and Examinations
  • Interpretation of Results
  • Recommendations & On-going Screenings

Some members of the Coast Guard are required to enroll in spite of any known exposure, such as Marine Inspectors and Investigators, Pollution Investigators, Marine and Port Safety, and fire fighters. 

Asbestos is commonly found in floor and roof tiles, pipe lagging, insulation, and popcorn ceilings.  Asbestos does not pose a threat as long as it is intact and in good condition.  Asbestos containing materials become dangerous anytime there is deterioration, damage or disturbance, increasing chances of toxic microscopic fibers becoming airborne.  Once inhaled or ingested, these carcinogenic needles can cause mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer, or asbestosis, a painful scarring of the lungs.

Asbestos related disease can take up to fifty years before symptoms begin to appear.  Therefore the OMSEP protocol is that any Coast Guard member exposed to asbestos shall have initial as well as periodic screenings for 30 years. 

In addition to occupational exposure, Coast Guard members and their family may have been exposed to asbestos if assigned to any pre-1981 housing which was known to be constructed with materials which contained this mineral. 

If you have known exposure to asbestos and have symptoms of mesothelioma or asbestosis, consult your doctor immediately.  If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, contact us for a free case evaluation to find out your rights to compensation.  We have represented many servicemen and helped them to recover high monetary awards from manufacturers of asbestos who knew that it was carcinogenic and yet did not provide warning or protection.  The settlements and awards have helped to cover medical costs and ensure financial security for the families of Coast Guard members.