Protecting our veterans' children
Legacy of Our Veterans' Military Exposures
Justice - social, environmental, human
Protecting our veterans' children™

Iraq War Exposures

Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn (March 19, 2003 – Dec. 15, 2011)
Environment and Chemical Exposures
Iraq War Veterans may have been exposed to a range of environmental and chemical hazards that carried potential health risks.
Burn PIts
Camp Anaconda, home to one of the largest pits click here for burn pit locations.

Toxic Military Exposures

Gulf War Registry
The VA offers eligible Veterans a free Gulf War Registry health exam for possible long-term health problems related to Gulf War service during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation New Dawn.

Burn Pits

Open-air pit waste disposal at military sites. Learn more

Depleted Uranium

Uranium used in military tank armor and some bullets.
Learn more

Occupational Hazards

Exposures from working with chemicals, paints, and machinery during service. Learn more

Sand, Dust and Particulates

Tiny airborne matter that can cause respiratory and other health problems. Learn more

Toxic Embedded Fragments

Shrapnel and other metals that remain in the body after injury. Learn more

Mefloquine - Lariam®

Round, white pill taken to prevent and treat malaria. Learn more

Sulfur Fire (Al Mishraq, Iraq)

Exposures from working with chemicals, paints, and machinery during service. Learn more

Chromium (Qarmat Ali)

Hexavalent chromium in contaminated sodium dichromate dust; water treatment plant in 2003.
Learn more
Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry
Gulf War veterans can document their exposures and health concerns through an online questionnaire. They don't need to be enrolled in VA health care to take part.

Chemical Secrets of the Iraq War

Khamisiyah, Iraq chemical storage demolition

Rockets filled with sarin and cyclosporine mixes were found at ammunitions storage depot in Khamisiyah, Iraq that had been demolished by U.S. Servicemembers following the 1991 Gulf War cease-fire. An undetermined amount of these chemicals were released into the atmosphere.

The Department of Defense concluded about 100,000 Gulf War Veterans could have been exposed to low-levels of these nerve agents. Visit GulfLINK to learn more about U.S. demolition operations at Khamisiyah, Iraq. See more

U.S. demolition operations at Khamisiyah, Iraq. Learn more

Gulf War Exposures

For Purposes of VA Benefits
Gulf War service is active military duty in any of the following areas in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations at any time August 2, 1990 to present. This includes Veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2010) and Operation New Dawn (2010-2011): Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia The neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Oman Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Waters of the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea, The airspace above these locations. Learn more


Including anthrax and botulinum toxoid. Learn more

Oil Well Fires

Oil or gas wells that caught on fire and burned and Open-air pit waste disposal at military sites. Learn more

Pyridostigmine Bromide (PB)

Round, white tablet used as pre-treatment drug to protect against nerve agent soman. Learn more

Non-Toxic Military Exposures

Traumatic Brain Injury

Concussions and brain injury often caused by explosions. OEF/OIF/OND Veterans’ risk for TBI. Learn more


Harmful sounds from guns, equipment, and machinery that is often experienced during service. Learn more

Infectious Diseases

Nine infectious diseases associated with Southwest Asia and Afghanistan military service. Learn more

Heat Injuries

Health problems that could be caused by extremely hot temperatures. Learn more


Disease transmitted by bite or saliva from an infected warm-blooded animal. Learn more
VA Compensation
For VA compensation purposes, Iraq War Veterans with qualifying service are considered Gulf War Veterans and may be eligible for disability compensation for Gulf War Veterans' illnesses.

Publications on OEF/OIF Exposures

  • Newsletters – Operations Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom Review

    VA's Environmental Health Program publishes the Operations Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Review newsletters, providing information about possible long-term health problems from military service during OEF/OIF. Open PDF Here
  • The Environmental Health Registry Programs for Veterans brochure

    provides an overview of five VA health registry programs that track the health of Veterans exposed to environmental hazards during military service: Ionizing Radiation, Agent Orange, Gulf War, Depleted Uranium, and Toxic Embedded Fragments. Open PDF Here
  • Environment Exposure Pocket Card

    Pocket Guide for Clinicians, this guide will help health care providers care for Veterans with exposure concerns. Environment Exposure Pocket Card. Open PDF Here
  • War Wounded OEF/OIF VHI

    The guide is useful for VA and non-VA health care providers caring for Veteran patients. Veterans and the public also may be interested in the guide to learn more about symptoms and treatment. Open PDF Here.


  • Toxic Exposure – the Environmental Reality of Wars

Source: Department of Veterans Affairs

What's in the News

Chemical Secrets of the Iraq War