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Exposure to Mustard Gas or Lewisite

Mustard gas is a common term that may refer to two forms of mustard agents: sulphur mustard (Yperite) or nitrogen mustard. Lewisite, an organic compound containing arsenic, is another mustard agent. The VA may grant service connection for certain diseases or disabilities as the result of full-body exposure to mustard gas or Lewisite during military service.

Disabilities or diseases for which service connection may be granted by presumption due to mustard gas or Lewisite exposure are listed below.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a Veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable
  • You must have been exposed to mustard gas in one of the following ways:
    • During field or chamber testing, OR
    • During battlefield conditions in World War I, OR
    • Present at the German air raid on the harbor of Bari, Italy in World War II, OR
    • Engaged in manufacturing and handling of vesicant (blistering) agents during military service, OR
    • As a U.S. Army biological or chemical substance testing program research volunteer between 1942 and 1975.

Evidence Requirements

  • The evidence must show exposure to mustard gas during military service
  • The evidence must show one of the diseases or disabilities in 38 CFR 3.316(a) OR medical evidence that shows a relationship between a disease or disability (not in 38 CFR 3.316(a)) based on exposure to mustard gas. You must claim a disease or condition. Exposure, in and of itself, is not a condition that is subject to service connection.

The VA will request and review pertinent service records for chemical exposure.

Presumption Locations

Full-body testing of mustard gas or Lewisite is presumed to have taken place at the following locations in the 1940's.

Bari, Italy Hart's Island, New York
Bushnell, Florida Horn Island Installation, Mississippi
Charleston, South Carolina Huntsville Arsenal, Alabama
Camp Crowder, Missouri Naval Research Laboratory, Virginia
Camp Howze, Texas Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.
Camp Lejeune, North Carolina Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland
Camp Sibert, Alabama Ondal, India
Dugway Proving Ground, Utah Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Colorado
Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland San Jose Island, Panama Canal Zone
Ft. Detrick, Maryland Toole Army Depot, Utah
Ft. McClellan, Alabama USS Eagle Boat No. 58
Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Ill.  

Some American Servicemembers may have participated in Allied mustard agent testing in Porton Down, England, or Finschhafen, New Guinea.

Conditions covered in Presumption

Service-connection may be granted by presumption for disabilities which are due to mustard gas or Lewisite exposure. To qualify, Veterans must have had full body exposure, during active military service. Conditions considered presumptive for exposure to mustard gas or Lewisite are:

  • Acute nonlymphocytic leukemia
  • Chronic conjunctivitis, keratitis, corneal opacities, scar formation
  • The following cancers: nasopharyngeal; laryngeal; lung (except mesothelioma); or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin
  • Chronic laryngitis, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

How to Apply

For more information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, visit our How to Apply page.

For questions related to disability compensation benefits as a result of mustard gas exposure, send an email to MUSTARDGAS@VBA.VA.GOV.

Medical Care for Chemical and Biological Test Volunteers

The U.S. Army is now providing medical care to Veterans who served as volunteers for research involving chemical and biological testing between 1942 and 1975, and who have an injury or disease proximately caused by their participation in this testing. As many as 60,000 Veterans volunteered for medical research in order to contribute to the advancement of the U.S. Biological and Chemical Programs. The Army will assist Veterans in obtaining medical care through military treatment facilities. Eligible Veterans are encouraged to visit the U.S. Army web page at for more information, or call 1-800-984-8523, if they have any questions or need assistance.