U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Veterans who worked at LORAN (Long Range Navigation) stations from 1942 to 2010 may have been exposed to X-ray radiation from high voltage vacuum tubes.
About 10,000 USCG members were stationed at LORAN transmitters during the exposure period and most received only minimal occupational exposures.
Very few Veterans are expected to have developed a disease related to this exposure. That would require performing maintenance tasks that involved removal of shielding and direct exposure to radiation for long enough periods to receive a significant dose.
Read the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's July 2011 report (1.9 MB, PDF) for available exposure data and occupational tasks related to the use of LORAN equipment.
Potential health risks
Superficial diseases, such as skin cancer and cataracts, are more likely to be linked to this exposure than deep cancers such as leukemia. Because of the low energy of these X-rays, the radiation would not have penetrated the body deeply. For Veterans with close exposure to operating equipment (inside cabinets), skin or eye damage would be the most likely effect.
VA recognizes certain cancers and other diseases as linked to exposure to ionizing radiation during military service. Eligibility for VA compensation depends on a number of factors, such as the radiation dose and when the disease develops.
If you are concerned about radiation exposure during military service, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.
Veterans not enrolled in the VA health care system, find out if you qualify for VA health care.
Need help determining exposure?
VA can help determine exposure during military service after you file a claim for compensation benefits for health problems associated with radiation exposure during service.
You can include the occupational exposure assessment developed in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's July 2011 report (1.9 MB, PDF) with your claim to assist with dose reconstruction estimates.