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Can You Get VA Disability for Burn Pit Exposure?

Military burn pits were used extensively during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of waste materials. While these burn pits were meant to be a temporary solution, they were used for over a decade, exposing many military personnel to toxic fumes and particulate matter. Airborne hazards and toxic exposure has led to various illnesses, including cancer and other chronic conditions. 

In this article, we’ll explore whether or not you can get VA disability for burn pit exposure.

What Are Burn Pits?

Burn pits are large open-air areas where waste materials such as plastics, chemicals, human waste, and medical supplies are burned. The resulting fumes and particles contain toxic substances, including dioxins, benzene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These substances can cause health problems like respiratory issues or cancer.

In some cases, exposure can lead to the development of serious health conditions such as cancer, neurological disorders, and heart disease. Veterans exposed to toxic fumes and particles should watch for various symptoms, including chronic coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. They may also experience fatigue, headaches, and joint pain. 

Though the Department of Defense has closed many burn pits, numerous veterans were exposed to these toxic chemicals for extended periods. This has led to a growing concern about the long-term health effects of burn pit exposure among veterans and their families.

Toxic Burn Pit Exposure Conditions

The toxic fumes and particulate matter created by burn pits have been linked to a wide range of chronic conditions, including:

  • Respiratory issues, such as asthma and bronchitis
  • Neurological issues, such as headaches and memory problems
  • Cardiovascular issues, such as heart disease
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as acid reflux and stomach ulcers
  • Skin issues, such as rashes and itching
  • Cancer, including lung cancer, bladder cancer, and lymphoma

Symptoms of Burn Pit Exposure

The symptoms of burn pit exposure can vary depending on the individual and the length and intensity of exposure. Some common symptoms include:

  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Skin rash or itching
  • Memory problems

Can You Get VA Disability for Burn Pit Exposure?

Yes, you can get VA disability for burn pit exposure. In fact, the Department of Veterans Affairs established an open burn pit registry for exposed servicemen and women. This registry allows the VA to track the veterans’ health and provides them with information about potential health risks.

In addition to the registry, the VA offers disability benefits. To be eligible, you must have a diagnosed illness or condition that is service connected to your burn pit exposure. You will also need to provide evidence that shows a connection between your exposure and your illness or condition.

If you are a veteran exposed to burn pits and developed a related illness or condition, it is important to file a claim for VA disability benefits. You can submit a claim online, by mail, or in person at your local VA office. You must provide medical evidence of your condition and your exposure to military burn pits.

Burn Pit Illnesses List

The VA and Department of Defense are researching cancer from burn pits and other long-term illnesses. Though many factors affect the risk of developing these illnesses, the following conditions have been added to the list of presumptive conditions:

  • Brain cancer
  • Gastrointestinal cancer of any type
  • Glioblastoma
  • Head cancer of any type
  • Kidney cancer
  • Lymphatic cancer of any type
  • Lymphoma of any type
  • Melanoma
  • Neck cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Reproductive cancer of any type
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea
  • Adenocarcinoma of the trachea
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung
  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung
  • Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung
  • Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type
  • Asthma that was diagnosed after service
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis
  • Emphysema
  • Granulomatous disease
  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
  • Pleuritis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis

Final Thoughts

Military burn pits have been linked to various chronic conditions, including cancer and other serious illnesses. If you are a veteran who has developed a burn-pit-related illness or condition, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits.

It’s worth noting that the list of presumptive conditions associated with burn pit exposure may change as more research is conducted, and the Department of Veterans Affairs may update its policies accordingly. Additionally, it’s important to remember that not all veterans exposed to burn pits will develop related health conditions, and not all health conditions are necessarily caused by burn pit exposure. Veterans concerned about their health should consult with a medical professional and consider filing a claim for VA disability benefits if they believe their health condition is related to their service.

Are You Getting the Benefits You Deserve?

If you were denied benefits for military burn pit exposure, contact an experienced VA attorney or expert in veterans law. To speak with a specialist and review your options, set up a free consultation with the Cameron Firm, PC. Contact us today at (800) 861-7262 or fill out the form below.

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This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.


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