[link to www.heatherwokusch.com
[link to www.publichealth.va.gov
Project 112/Project SHAD
Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Hazardous Exposures
OEF/OIF combat veterans may have been exposed to a wide variety of environmental hazards during their service in Afghanistan or Iraq. These hazardous exposures may cause long-term health problems. Hazardous exposures include:
* CARC paint
* Cold and heat injuries
* Depleted uranium
* Toxic embedded fragments
Approximately 697,000 men and women served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm from August 1990 to June 1991 during the Gulf War. In the years since they returned, nearly a quarter of Gulf War veterans have experienced illnesses that have led VA and others to investigate whether exposures during deployment caused their symptoms. The evidence remains unclear.
Agent Orange is the name given to a specific blend of herbicides used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971 during the Vietnam conflict. The U.S. military sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides to remove leaves from trees that provided cover for enemy forces. Some Vietnam veterans were
black and white image of planes flying over trees spraying defoliant
Planes spraying jungle
foliage with herbicides
exposed to these herbicides.
Depleted uranium (DU) is a byproduct of the uranium enrichment process that makes nuclear fuel. DU has approximately 60 percent of the radioactivity and the same chemical toxicity as natural uranium. Natural uranium is present in small amounts in our environment, and we all are exposed to it through our food and water.
* Nearly 60,000 servicemembers in the 1940s who participated in Department of Defense (DoD) chemical testing programs involving exposure to mustard agents.
* World War II veterans exposed to mustard gas during the bombing attack by the Germans in Bari, Italy. World War I veterans also were exposed to mustard gases during combat.
In the 1940s, the U.S. military chemical weapons program recruited ”volunteer soldier” subjects for experiments using sulfur mustard, nitrogen mustard, and Lewisite, a blister-producing chemical that contains organic arsenic. The purpose of these tests was to evaluate clothing, ointments and equipment to protect American troops from mustard agent attacks. Nearly 60,000 military personnel were involved in a wide range of exposures, most of them participating in mild exposures (a drop of agent on the arm in “patch” tests). However, approximately 4,000 soldiers were subjected to severe, full-body exposures carried out in gas chamber trials or as a part of field exercises over contaminated ground areas.
Since the early 1990s, VA has conducted campaigns to reach veterans identified by DoD as participants in these tests and inform them about their benefits.
Some veterans may have been exposed to a variety of occupational and environmental exposures during their military service. These include:
Factory with smokestacks
* CARC Paint
* Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)