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Military Hazardous Exposures

As a Veteran, you may have been exposed to a range of chemical, physical, and environmental hazards during 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.


If you served served in any of the following military occupation specialties may have been exposed to asbestos: mining, milling, shipyard work, insulation work, demolition of old buildings, carpentry, construction, or manufacturing and installation of products such as flooring and roofing.

Additionally, if you served in Iraq or other countries in that region, you could have been exposed to asbestos when older buildings were damaged and the contaminant was released into the air.

Learn more about exposure to Asbestos

Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune

Water systems at Marine Corps Base in Lejeune, NC were contaminated with chemical compounds from at least 1957 to February 1985 when the wells supplying the water systems were shut down. These water systems served housing, administrative, and recreational facilities, as well as the base hospital. There is limited and suggestive evidence of an association between certain diseases and the chemical compounds found at Camp Lejeune during the period of contamination.

Learn more about exposure to Camp Lejeune Drinking Water

Specific Environmental Hazards

You may have been exposed to environmental hazards at military installations during military service. These hazards include:

  • Burn pits
  • Particulate matter
  • Chemical fires
  • Waste disposal pollution

Learn more about exposure to Specific Environmental Hazards

Ionizing Radiation

Veterans may have been exposed to ionizing radiation during military service if, for example, they participated in nuclear weapons testing. There are certain diseases that may be service-connected if the disease occurred as a result of the radiation exposure.

Learn more about Diseases Related to Exposure to Ionizing Radiation

Mustard Gas

Approximately 4,500 Servicemembers were exposed to "mustard gas" as "volunteer soldier" subjects for experiments conducted by the Department of Defense. This exposure may result in health problems.

Learn more about exposure to Mustard Gas

Project 112/SHAD

Approximately 6,000 U.S. Servicemembers were involved in conducting chemical tests to defend against biological and chemical weapons threats, from 1962 to 1974 in Fort Douglas, Utah. These tests are known as Project 112 and Project SHAD. Participation in these tests may result in subsequent illnesses among Veterans, or may qualify a survivor of a Veteran who died from such tests to certain VA benefits.

Learn more about Project 112/SHAD

Radiogenic Risk Activities

There are certain diseases that may be service connected if the disease occurred as a result of the Veteran participating in a radiation-risk activity. Examples of radiation risk activities include serving or being a prisoner of war in Japan and participating in nuclear weapons testing.

Learn more about Radiogenic Diseases Post-Service