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Chemical or Hazardous Material Exposure

Veterans may come in contact with a range of toxic chemicals or other hazardous materials during military service that may cause health problems. Learn more about specific health concerns.


Agent Orange-related illnesses

Certain cancers (like prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) and other illnesses (like Type 2 Diabetes) have been linked to Agent Orange. The U.S. military used this toxic chemical to clear trees and plants during the Vietnam War era.
See the list of Agent Orange-related illnesses.
Learn more about disability benefits for Agent Orange-related illnesses.


Gulf War Illness

Illnesses with unexplained symptoms, like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, have been linked to service during the Gulf War era (August 2, 1990—present).
Learn more about Gulf War Illness.
Learn more about disability benefits for Gulf War Illness.


Illnesses linked to radiation exposure

Some cancers and other illnesses (like certain thyroid conditions and tumors of the brain and central nervous system) may be linked to radiation exposure.
Learn more about illnesses linked to radiation exposure.
Learn more about disability benefits for illnesses caused by radiation exposure.


Conditions linked to toxic embedded fragments

Shrapnel and other metals (some containing chemicals) can stay in your body after an injury and can cause injury at the site of the fragment or in other parts of your body.
Learn more about toxic embedded fragments.
Learn more about disability benefits for certain conditions.


Traumatic brain injury

Explosions can cause concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI), an injury to the head that disrupts the way your brain works.
Learn more about TBI.
Learn more about disability benefits for conditions like TBI.


Cold injuries

Health problems, like skin cancer in frostbite scars or pain, tingling, or numbness in the fingers and toes, can be caused by the effects of cold climates.
Learn more about cold injuries.
Learn more about disability benefits for certain conditions.


Birth defects

Certain birth defects in the biological children of Veterans have been linked to military service in Vietnam or Korea.
Learn more about these birth defects.
Learn more about disability benefits for spina bifida.


Infectious diseases

There are 9 infections related to Southwest Asia and Afghanistan military service: malaria, brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella burnetii (Q Fever), Mycobacterium tuberculosis, nontyphoid Salmonella, shigella, visceral leishmaniasis, and West Nile virus.
Learn more about these infectious diseases.
Learn more about disability benefits for Gulf War Illness.

Vietnam-era Veterans are at risk for Hepatitis C, an infectious disease that can harm your liver. Talk to your provider about getting tested.
Learn more about Hepatitis C.
Learn more about disability benefits for certain conditions.


Vaccinations and medicines during service

Some vaccines and medicines used during service may have side effects.
Learn more about these vaccines and medicines.
Learn more about disability benefits for certain conditions.


Rabies

Rabies is a serious disease that’s transmitted through the bite or saliva of a warm-blooded animal. If you served in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, or New Dawn and were bitten by, or came in contact with the saliva of, a warm-blooded animal, you should get examined by a health care provider right away.
Learn more about rabies.
Learn more about disability benefits for certain conditions.


Heat injuries

Health problems, like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and sunburn, can be caused by serving in hot, desert climates.
Learn more about heat injuries.
Learn more about disability benefits for certain conditions.


Job-related hazards

Chemicals, paints, radiation, and other hazards you may have come in contact with through your military job may carry health risks.
Learn more about these occupational hazards.
Learn about disability benefits for conditions linked to contact with asbestos and other hazards.


If you need help accessing services, call our toll-free hotline at 877-222-VETS (877-222-8387), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ET). Or, contact your state’s Veterans agency.

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