Five Million Veterans Screened For Toxic Exposure

The Department of Veterans Affairs (also known as the VA) announced it has screened five million veterans for potential toxic exposure during their military service. This process is the first step to assessing if a veteran may be suffering from medical conditions related to dangerous chemicals they may have come into contact with during their service. Those found to have been exposed during these screenings, and who suffer from certain medical conditions, may be eligible for disability benefits.

What Does it Mean to Suffer From Toxic Exposure?

Toxic exposure is, as the name suggests, when someone comes into contact with harmful chemicals, such as from breathing in toxic fumes, drinking contaminated water, or having chemicals come into contact with exposed skin. In many cases, victims may not realize they have been exposed to these dangerous chemicals until years after the fact. In the military, the two most common ways people may suffer toxic exposure is through proximity to burn pits, as well as being exposed to Agent Orange.

Why is the VA Screening Veterans for Toxic Exposure?

The VA is screening veterans for potential toxic exposure to determine if they may be eligible for benefits under the PACT Act. This Act allows veterans to apply for disability benefits if they have certain medical conditions known to be caused by exposure to burn pits and other sources of dangerous chemicals. Before the PACT Act was passed, many veterans suffered from these medical conditions without the ability to obtain benefits due to the difficulty of tying their conditions to their military service, but that has since changed.

What Are the Potential Effects of Toxic Exposure?

Toxic exposure can have a number of potentially harmful effects on veterans, both in the short and long term. In the short term, many veterans may have experienced difficulty breathing, skin irritation, nausea, vision or hearing problems, or other medical issues after being exposed to harmful chemicals. In the long term, victims are more likely to suffer from certain serious and rare medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and mesothelioma, among others.

What Should You Do if You Suffered From Toxic Exposure?

If you served in the military and may have suffered from toxic exposure, you should speak to the VA about what happened, if you have not already done so. If you are suffering from a severe medical condition, such as cancer or Parkinson’s disease, you may be eligible for disability benefits under the PACT Act. However, to best take advantage of your potential options, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling veterans disability claims, who can guide you through the process of getting the benefits you deserve.

The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.

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