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Environmental Hazards Review


Environmental Hazards Review refers to the evaluation process conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to assess the potential impact of environmental hazards on the health and well-being of veterans. These hazards can include exposure to toxic substances, radiation, and other harmful agents during military service. The review helps determine eligibility for benefits, compensation, and necessary medical care related to illnesses or conditions caused by exposure to these hazards.

Key Takeaways

  1. Environmental Hazards Review is a process in which the VA assesses the potential impacts of exposure to environmental hazards on a veteran’s health, which may result in specific disability benefits or medical treatments.
  2. Commonly recognized environmental hazards in the context of VA benefits include exposure to Agent Orange, contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, ionizing radiation, and Gulf War service-connected illnesses.
  3. Veterans who served in areas with known environmental hazards or who suspect that their health issues may be related to such exposure should submit a claim for VA benefits, providing evidence of service connection and medical diagnoses.


The term “Environmental Hazards Review” is important in the context of VA benefits, as it refers to a thorough examination of potential environmental hazards that veterans may have been exposed to during their military service.

Such exposure can lead to various adverse health effects in the short and long term.

By understanding, identifying, and reviewing these environmental hazards, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can make informed decisions regarding the appropriate care, support, and compensation for veterans.

Moreover, this review process enables the development of targeted medical treatments and preventive measures for affected veterans, while also raising awareness about potential service-connected health issues.

In essence, the Environmental Hazards Review is a crucial component in ensuring the well-being, proper care, and support owed to veterans by the VA.


The Environmental Hazards Review serves as a vital component of the VA benefits system, designed to ensure the safety and well-being of veterans by identifying and addressing various environmental hazards they may have been exposed to during their military service. The overarching purpose of this review is to provide information and resources for veterans who might have encountered hazardous conditions, substances or environmental factors that can potentially lead to detrimental health consequences.

By conducting a comprehensive assessment, the review plays a crucial role in linking veterans to essential medical care, compensation, and other support services they may require due to long-term health ramifications associated with these hazardous exposures. Through the Environmental Hazards Review, the Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledges the unique challenges faced by veterans during their service.

By doing so, they aim to offer timely assistance to those who have been affected by environmental hazards in various theaters of operation, such as exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam, burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, and contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The review not only involves assessing individual veteran cases but also actively contributes to extensive research efforts that strive to broaden our understanding of the health implications associated with these exposures.

Ultimately, the central focus of the Environmental Hazards Review is to foster a supportive and responsive environment for our veterans while diligently addressing the adverse effects that may arise from their dedicated service to our nation.

Examples of Environmental Hazards Review

The VA Benefits term “Environmental Hazards Review” refers to the evaluation of veterans’ health issues that may be related to specific environmental hazards they were exposed to during military service. Here are three real-world examples of environmental hazards that the VA has acknowledged:

Agent Orange Exposure (Vietnam War): Agent Orange is a toxic herbicide that was extensively used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to defoliate forests and destroy crop lands. Many veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange have reported various health issues, including several types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes. The VA has recognized these potential health risks and provides disability compensation and health care benefits to veterans with specific illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure.

Gulf War Syndrome (1990-1991 Gulf War): Gulf War Syndrome is a term used to describe the unexplained illnesses and health problems experienced by many veterans who served in the first Gulf War. These symptoms include chronic fatigue, joint pain, respiratory problems, and memory issues. Although the exact cause of Gulf War Syndrome is still unclear, it is believed to be related to environmental exposures, such as depleted uranium, chemical warfare agents, and pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills. As part of the VA’s Environmental Hazards Review, the VA provides benefits and health care services to Gulf War veterans who suffer from these unexplained illnesses.

Burn Pit Exposure (Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn): Burn pits were used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of waste materials, such as chemicals, medical waste, and human waste. Veterans who were exposed to the toxic smoke emitted by these burn pits have reported a variety of respiratory issues, skin rashes, and other health problems. The VA’s Environmental Hazards Review involves assessing the potential long-term health effects of burn pit exposure and providing appropriate benefits and health care services to affected veterans.

FAQ: Environmental Hazards Review

1. What is an Environmental Hazards Review?

An Environmental Hazards Review is a process conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to assess the potential impact of environmental hazards on the health of veterans. This may include exposure to contaminants or toxic substances during military service, such as asbestos, radiation, or Agent Orange.

2. Who is eligible for an Environmental Hazards Review?

Veterans who may have been exposed to environmental hazards while serving in the military are eligible for an Environmental Hazards Review. This includes all branches of the military, as well as those who served during times of war and peacetime.

3. How can I request an Environmental Hazards Review?

You can request an Environmental Hazards Review by submitting a claim for VA benefits. The VA will then conduct an evaluation of your service records and medical history to determine if you were exposed to any environmental hazards during your military service. You may also be asked to provide additional documents or evidence to support your claim.

4. How long does it take to receive an Environmental Hazards Review?

The time it takes to receive an Environmental Hazards Review may vary depending on the complexity of your case and the availability of the necessary information. However, the VA typically processes completed claims within several months.

5. Can I appeal the decision made during an Environmental Hazards Review?

Yes, if you are not satisfied with the decision made during your Environmental Hazards Review, you can appeal the decision to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. This must be done within one year of receiving the VA’s initial decision. You may also wish to consult with a veterans service organization or attorney for assistance in preparing your appeal.

6. Where can I find more information about Environmental Hazards Reviews and other VA benefits?

For more information about Environmental Hazards Reviews and other VA benefits, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website at www.va.gov, contact your local VA office, or call the VA toll-free hotline at 1-800-827-1000.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Exposure Assessment
  • Contaminated Water Sources
  • Health Risk Evaluation
  • Airborne Toxicants
  • Environmental Health Surveillance

Sources for More Information