Iraq war veterans may have suffered a number of exposure risks due to the hazardous environment in which they served. In addition to airborne hazards from gases, carcinogenic burn pit exposure, and other chemical toxins, many veterans have retained fragments from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), bombs, mines or shells—some of which may contain depleted uranium.

Iraq War Veterans May Suffer Health Problems Due to Toxic Embedded Fragments

While many veterans who are injured by shrapnel (fragments of metal and debris from explosive devices) undergo successful removal, some are forced to live with these fragments embedded in their bodies for the rest of their lives—and for veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation New Dawn, these fragments may cause serious health concerns.

Toxic fragments can cause veterans to suffer health problems in a number of ways, including:

  • Injury at the wound site (laceration, infection, failure to heal completely)
  • Burrowing or movement of the shrapnel that causes bleeding or irritation of the surrounding tissues
  • Chemicals in the fragment travel through the bloodstream and lead to complications throughout the body

Iraq War Veterans With Shrapnel Injuries May Qualify for VA Disability

If you have not already done so, you should apply for VA disability benefits right away. If you are accepted, the VA will use your doctor’s reports and physical exams to determine the severity of your injury and assign you a certain value of benefits payable each month. In addition to qualifying for VA benefits, veterans with toxic fragment injuries are eligible to undergo medical surveillance at the Toxic Embedded Fragment Surveillance Center at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.

If you have applied and been denied or are unhappy with your rating decision, give us a call today at (402) 933-5405  or email us today at [email protected] so we can explain your disability options to you.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska