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What Were Veterans Exposed to in the Gulf War?

I personally never served in the military. I have a certain respect for anyone who has served, and that respect has been increased tenfold since working in a firm that deals with VA Disability Compensation. The only real frames of reference I have for a place like Iraq are Veterans I talked to, and films. Way before I worked here I watched the film “Jarhead” in the theater. There is one particular scene that sticks out in which the main character has to remove human waste from a facility and set it on fire. I remember thinking that “they probably didn’t put that in a recruiting ad.” I also thought that it probably wasn’t healthy to inhale all of the fumes from that waste. I was right.

It turns out that this isn’t the only thing Veterans may have been exposed to in Iraq. (This blog will discuss exposure for veterans who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn March 19, 2003 – Dec. 15, 2011)

Sand, Dust and Particulates

 Tiny airborne matter that can cause respiratory and other health problems

 Burn Pits

 Open-air pit waste disposal at military sites

Infectious Diseases

 Nine infectious diseases associated with Southwest Asia and Afghanistan military service

Depleted Uranium

 Uranium used in military tank armor and some bullets

Toxic Embedded Fragments

 Shrapnel and other metals that remain in the body after injury


 Harmful sounds from guns, equipment, and machinery that is often experienced during military service

 Traumatic Brain Injury

 Concussions and brain injury often caused by explosions


 Disease transmitted by bite or saliva from an infected warm-blooded animal

Mefloquine – Lariam®

 Round, white pill taken to prevent and treat malaria

 Heat Injuries

 Possible health problems from extremely hot temperatures

 Sulfur Fire (Al Mishraq, Iraq)

 Sulfur plant burned almost a month in June 2003; large amounts of sulfur dioxide released into the air

 Chromium (Qarmat Ali)

 Hexavalent chromium in contaminated sodium dichromate dust; water treatment plant in 2003

 Occupational Hazards

 Exposures from working with chemicals, paints, and machinery during service

Why is it important to know why you were exposed to certain chemicals and objects? It is possible that you may have certain health issues associated with these exposures. It is always important to be aware of this in case you start having health problems later on in life. If you would like to know more about this subject, or learn about what our firm can do for you, give our office a call today. 1-877-526-3457.

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