VA Disability Benefits Attorney for Environmental Hazards

VA Disability Benefits Attorney for U.S. Veterans Exposed To Environmental Hazards

As a Veteran, you may have been exposed to a range of chemical, physical, and environmental hazards during your military service. You may be entitled to disability compensation if these military exposures resulted in a disease or injury. Read about the types of service that may have resulted in exposure to certain hazards:

Gulf War Syndrome

If you served in Southwest Asia from August 2, 1990 to the present, you may be entitled to presumptive service connection for certain illnesses. These Veterans include those who served in operations such as Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn. These veterans may have been exposed to environmental hazards such as burn pits and oil well fires. These exposures may lead to an "undiagnosed illness" or certain "medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses." Sometimes these illnesses are referred to as Gulf War Syndrome.

What Does the VA Mean by an "Undiagnosed Illness" or "Medically Unexplained Chronic Multisymptom Illnesses"?

An "undiagnosed illness" is a condition that cannot be diagnosed by a physician or that cannot be attributed to a known clinical diagnosis. Signs and symptoms of an undiagnosed illness include fatigue, unexplained rashes, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, respiratory disorders, cardiovascular signs or symptoms, abnormal weight loss, and menstrual disorders. Medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses include fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome. These symptoms or illnesses do not need to start during service, but they must have existed for 6 months or more.

The rules governing the Gulf War Illness presumption are confusing and frequently misapplied by the VA. The Vet Law Office understands these rules, and we can help win your VA disability appeal. Contact us now.

Burn Pits & Particulate Matter Exposure

The VA has acknowledged that from 2001, the United States military created large burn pits to dispose of waste in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Djibouti. The VA recognized that the burn pits such as the one at Joint Base Balad released toxic substances that could have been inhaled or ingested by troops. The VA has also acknowledged that veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Djibouti were exposed to increased levels of particulate matter from sand and dust storms. Particulate matter passes through the throat and nose and enters the lungs which can cause serious health effects.

What Evidence Must I Show to Be Service-Connected for Burn Pit or Particulate Matter Exposure?

  1. You must have a disability or symptoms due to exposure to burn pits or particulate matter. Exposure in and of itself is not a disability. Respiratory, cardiopulmonary, neurological, autoimmune, and skin disorders are some of the disabilities that may be associated with burn pit and particulate matter exposure.
  2. The evidence must show exposure to burn pits or particulate matter. Given the widespread nature of burn pits, your statement of burn pit exposure will alone be sufficient to establish the occurrence if you served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Djibouti.
  3. Your disability or symptoms must be due to your exposure to burn pits or particulate matter.

Camp Lejeune Contaminated Drinking Water

In the early 1980s, officials discovered that the water-supply systems at the Marine Corps Base in Lejeune, North Carolina had become contaminated with the chemicals trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, and perchloroethylene (PCE), a substance used in dry cleaning. Other hazardous chemicals, including benzene and vinyl chloride, were also present in the camp's water supply. These water systems served the housing, administrative, recreational facilities, and the hospital on Camp Lejeune. The water supply was contaminated between August of 1953 and December of 1987.

There is evidence that certain diseases are associated with the chemical compounds that had contaminated the water supply at Camp Lejeune, and numerous military personnel and their family members may have been exposed and placed at risk of suffering serious harm.

Camp Lejeune Presumptive Diseases

The Department of Veterans Affairs has established a presumption of service connection for several diseases that may be associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. Active duty, reserve, and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, N.C. for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987, may be eligible for disability benefits.

The medical evidence must show that you have been diagnosed with a disease on the list of presumptive conditions related to Camp Lejeune. The presumptive diseases are:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Kidney cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Parkinson's disease

Contact Our United States VA Disability Benefits Lawyer for Environmental Hazards

Edward M. Farmer is a U.S. Army veteran and an attorney. The majority of his career has been dedicated to assisting veterans with legal issues nationwide. Contact us at 1-800-700-4174 to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you receive disability benefits for conditions related to environmental hazards.

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