The U.S. military uses tank armor and some bullets made with depleted uranium (DU) to penetrate enemy armored vehicles. The U.S. military began using DU on a large scale during the Gulf War in the early 1990s.
When a projectile made with DU penetrates a vehicle, small pieces of DU can scatter and become embedded in muscle and soft tissue. In addition to DU in wounds, soldiers exposed to DU in struck vehicles may inhale or swallow small airborne DU particles. Some Gulf War, Bosnia, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn veterans who may have been exposed to DU are:
- Those who were on, in or near vehicles hit with “friendly fire”
- Rescuers entering burning vehicles, and those near burning vehicles
- Those near fires involving DU munitions
- Those salvaging damaged vehicles
If you think you were exposed to harmful DU conditions, contact the Environmental Health Coordinator or Patient Care Advocate at your nearest VA medical center and ask to be screened for DU exposure. If you have questions, you can also contact our Jackson toxic embedded fragments attorney.
Health Problems Associated with Depleted Uranium
DU is a potential health hazard if it enters the body, such as through embedded fragments, contaminated wounds, and inhalation or ingestion. Simply riding in a vehicle with DU weapons or DU shielding will not expose a service member to significant amounts of DU or external radiation.
The potential for health effects from internal exposure is related to the amount of DU that enters a person’s body. If DU enters the body, it may remain in the body. Studies show high doses may especially affect the kidneys.
Noise, Vibration and Other Physical Exposures
Veterans who worked with machinery regularly during military service may have experienced vibration exposure, including:
- Hand-arm vibration from regularly using power hand tools
- Whole-body vibration from regularly operating heavy equipment such as trucks, helicopters and ships
- Health problems associated with vibration exposure
- Continuous exposure to excessive vibration may cause irreversible damage to the body
- Regular exposure to hand-arm vibration may cause Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome — symptoms include tingling, numbness, and pain in the fingers and hands
- Regular exposure to whole body vibration may cause low back pain
If you think you may be eligible for disability benefits on the basis of chemical exposure or other service-related disabilities, contact Derek L. Hall, PC today for a free consultation. We can offer guidance regarding your eligibility.