Service-Related Conditions for Iraq War Vets

Attorneys helping vets across the country get the benefits they deserve

Troops deployed around the world face many of the same occupational hazards, but there are also particular threats based on the type of engagement and the local environment. Troops stationed in Iraq during the recent conflict had to contend with desert conditions, toxic exposures and infections as well as the inherent dangers of combat. At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, our VA benefits attorneys understand that to get the benefits you deserve, you have to know the risks and the illnesses for which you are covered. If you or a loved one served in the Iraq War, you can file a claim for disability, if there is evidence that your suffering is related to your service.

Exposure risks to troops during the Iraq War

The VA cites several environmental, chemical and combat hazards for Iraq War veterans. Potential health risks stem from:

  • Burn pits — Military sites often incinerate their waste in open-air burn pits. Troops in the vicinity are exposed to fumes from burning chemicals, paint, medical and human waste, munitions and other unexploded ordnance, petroleum and lubricant products, plastics, rubber, wood and discarded food. The presence of fine sand and particulates in the desert air can exacerbate the health risks.
  • Chemical warfare agents —Troops who handled or destroyed Iraqi explosive ordnance may have come into contact with potent blister agents (e.g. mustard gas) or nerve agents (e.g. sarin gas).
  • Chromium —Service members who guarded a water treatment facility in the Basrah oil fields at Qarmat Ali, Iraq in 2003 may have been exposed to dust containing hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen.
  • Depleted uranium — The US military uses depleted uranium in projectiles to penetrate enemy armored vehicles. The compound is far less radioactive than natural uranium but has equal chemical toxicity. Internal exposure through wounds, inhalation or ingestion can have serious health effects.
  • Heat stroke and dehydration — Working in the harsh desert under layers of protective equipment can produce heat injuries.
  • Mefloquine — This anti-malaria medication has occasional serious side effects, including anxiety, paranoia, depression, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat and lung problems.
  • Noise — Loud explosions can cause hearing loss and contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Occupational hazards — Military deployment often entails working with industrial chemicals that have toxic properties.
  • Rabies — Warm-blooded animals carry this deadly disease, which humans can contract through bites or contact with saliva.
  • Sand, dust and particulates — Inhalation can cause serious lung disease.
  • Sulfur fire — A fire at the Mishraq State Sulfur Mine Plant near Mosul, Iraq burned for almost a month in June, 2003, emitting sulfur dioxide at levels dangerous to health and life.
  • Toxic embedded fragments — Shrapnel from improvised explosive devices is often contaminated, sometimes with depleted uranium.
  • Traumatic brain injury — Concussive force or penetration of the skull due to explosions or projectiles can destroy brain tissue causing functional impairment with a variety of disabling symptoms.

As credentialed VA benefits attorneys, we fight for the rights of all veterans across the country. If you served in the Afghan War, the Vietnam War or any US military deployment, we are ready to help.

Contact a VA benefits lawyer committed to helping Iraq War veterans

If you or a veteran you love is suffering from a condition related to Iraq War service, Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban can help secure the benefits you deserve. Wherever you are across the country, we can put our knowledge and experience to work for you. We charge no fees unless we win your claim for benefits, so call us today at 866-866-VETS or contact us online.