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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Caruso

VA Announces Presumptive for Gulf War Airborne Particulates

Updated: Mar 19

The Facts "More than 3.7 million U.S. service members have participated in operations in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates—a region known collectively as the Southwest Asia Theater of Military Operations—and Afghanistan since 1990. Individuals who served in this region were likely to have been exposed to a number of airborne hazards, including oil-well fire smoke, emissions from open burn pits, dust and sand suspended in the air, pollution from local industries, and exhaust from diesel vehicles. As part of their service in the Southwest Asia theater, veterans may be exposed to a broad range of potentially hazardous airborne agents. These include: dust and sand, emissions from burning oil wells and open burn pits, exhaust from vehicles and aircraft, air pollution from local industry, power generation, and agriculture, vapors, gases, dusts, and fumes from chemical agents used in military job tasks. " National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) - 2020

The VA Announcement August 2, 2021 In summary, the VA announced that: “The Department of Veterans Affairs will begin processing disability claims Aug. 2, 2021 for asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis on a presumptive basis based on presumed particulate matter exposures during military service in Southwest Asia and certain other areas — if these conditions manifested within 10 years of a qualifying period of military service. Particulate matter pollution is associated with chronic asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis for Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations beginning Aug. 2, 1990 to the present, or Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria or Djibouti beginning Sept. 19, 2001 to the present. VA’s review also concluded that there was sufficient evidence to presume that these Veterans have been exposed to particulate matter.” Here is a link to the complete VA Press Release

BEYOND Asthma, Rhinitis & Sinusitis Although the VA's announcement for a presumptive is limited to Asthma, Rhinitis & Sinusitis, they have also conceded that veterans in certain locations were indeed exposed to harmful airborne particulate Matter (PM). (see excerpt from the VA Press Release above) With that said, it's important to understand that there are numerous diseases, far beyond asthma, Rhinitis and Sinusitis, where medical literature clearly supports Airborne Particulates as potentially causal. These diseases include but are not limited to: OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), COPD, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), and Hypertension.



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