United States military service members all over the country may have been exposed to environmental hazards while stationed at certain military bases. Many of the toxic chemicals present at these bases have been linked to health problems. If you are experiencing a medical condition following service, you may be eligible for disability compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Here’s what veterans should know about potential toxic exposure on U.S. military bases and filing disability claims for VA benefits.
What Is a Superfund Site?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started the “Superfund” program in 1980 when Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This program is an effort to clean up land that the EPA has deemed contaminated by hazardous waste and poses a risk to human health and/or the environment. Superfund sites are found all over the world due to the United States’ presence in multiple countries through private business, government, and military programs. There is a complex assessment in place to determine if a site should be deemed a Superfund site. The assessments include looking at the types of toxins; whether the toxins are found in the soil, water, air, or sediments; and at what phase of cleanup the site is in already. The main toxins the EPA assesses are asbestos, dioxin, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and radiation.
Presumptive Disability Benefits for Toxic Exposure
Presumptive conditions are health issues that the VA has connected to a specific type of military service. For example, the VA presumes that certain Vietnam War veterans with certain conditions, like chronic B-cell leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, were exposed to Agent Orange. This means that they are automatically entitled to disability benefits. The VA has similar presumptive conditions for Gulf War veterans.
This is also the case for veterans who served at certain military bases.
The VA has already authorized certain presumptive benefits for veterans stationed at Fort McClellan in Alabama and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina during specific time-periods. Veterans stationed at these bases may have been exposed to a number of toxic substances through contaminated water, which may have led to serious health effects. There are also presumptive conditions for veterans known as “Atomic Vets,” who meet certain criteria for radiation exposure. Veterans who were stationed at bases that are listed as EPA Superfund Cleanup sites, still have the option of filing a claim for compensation for direct service-connection as long as they can show service-connected exposure.
The EPA currently has over 130 US based military installations and sites listed as Superfund Priorities. Below is a listing of the major military sites by state and the toxins associated with each installation.
There are several factors that the VA will consider when determining eligibility for compensation based on toxic exposure. For most of these sites, exposure to veterans will have been minimal based on the veteran’s job, location, and whether he or she dealt specifically with the specified contaminants. Also, many of the bases did not have the contaminants except during specific time periods. And, while not every service member may have been exposed, if you were stationed at any of these installations and have an illness associated with one of the toxins, it is a good idea to check with your health care provider about a possible connection and filing a claim for compensation. For a complete listing, go to the EPA Superfund website.
|State||Installation Name||Chemicals involved in the EPA cleanup (may be associated with surrounding areas) See ATSDR for information about each contaminant|
|Alabama||Anniston Army Depot||Cyanide, phenols, pesticides, herbicides, chlorinated hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, acids, chelating agents, asbestos, creosote, lead, thallium, antimony, and chromium|
|Alaska||Adak Naval Air Station||Petroleum-related constituents, polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs), metals, chlorinated solvents, and organic chemicals|
|Elmendorf Air Force Base||White phosphorus, Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, PCBs|
VOCs, heavy metals, PCBs
|Eielson Air Force Base||VOCs, benzene, xylene, toluene (BTEX compounds), petroleum|
|Fort Wainwright||Solvents, petroleum, pesticides, fuel additives, lead, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)|
|Arizona||Luke Air Force Base||Waste oils, VOCs|
|Yuma Marine Corps Air Station||Asbestos, PCE, TCE, and DCE|
|California||Alamedo Naval Air Station||Pesticides, insecticides, alpha-chlordane, benzoapyrene, cesium-137, chromium, cobalt-60, dibenzo (A,H) anthracene, dieldrin, gamma-chlordane, heptachlor epoxide, PCBs, radium-226, strontium-90, and uranium-238|
|Concord Naval Air Station||Heavy metals including zinc, copper, lead, cadmium, and arsenic, as well as SVOC and pesticides|
|Edwards Air Force Base||Various fuels and solvents including trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE)|
|Castle Air Force Base||Trichloroethylene (TCE)|
|El Torro Marine Corps Air Station||Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), battery acids, leaded fuels, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), primarily trichloroethene (TCE)|
|March Air Force Base||Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), jet fuel, and heavy metals|
|Mather Air Force Base||Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), gasoline, diesel fuel, metals, pesticides, and other contaminants|
|McClellan Air Force Base||McClellan Air Force Base|
|George Air Force Base||Jet fuel, trichloroethylene (TCE), pesticides, and nitrates, total petroleum hydrocarbons, dioxins, construction debris, medical wastes, pesticides, semi-volatile organic compounds, and various inorganic compounds|
|Camp Pendleton||Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), spent oils, fuels, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, metals, and herbicides|
|Treasure Island Naval Air Station; Hunter’s Point Annex||Petroleum fuels, pesticides, heavy metals (such as lead and zinc), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, vinyl chloride and carbon tetrachloride|
|Moffit Naval Air Station||Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides|
|Travis Air Force Base||Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), petroleum products, metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)|
|Delaware||Dover Air Force Base||Trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and carbon tetrachloride|
|Washington D.C.||Washington Navy Yard||Trivalent, hexavalent chromium, PCB, organics and chlorinated solvents, metals, and PAHs|
|Florida||Cecil Naval Air Station||Petroleum products, solvents, corrosives, compressed gasses, pesticides, paints, and thinners|
|Homestead Air Force Base||Jet fuel and metals|
|Jacksonville Naval Air Station||PCBs, VOCs (methylene chloride, mythylthyl ketone, ethyl acetate, and TCE), PAHs, waste solvents, battery acid, JP-5 jet fuel, chlorinated solvents, and pesticides|
|Pensacola Naval Air Station||VOCs and heavy metals|
|Tyndall Air Force Base||Lead and lead pellets, chlorinated solvents, DDT and breakdown products, and various metals|
|Whiting Field Naval Air Station||Trichloroethylene, arsenic, petroleum parts, solvents, and pesticides|
|Georgia||Marine Corps Logistics Base||Base Neutral Acids, Metals, PAH, PCBs, VOC|
|Robins Air Force Base, Landfill #4/Sludge Lagoon||Metals, PAH, Persistent Organic Pollutants, Pesticides, VOC|
|Hawaii||Pearl Harbor Naval Complex||metals, organic compounds and petroleum hydrocarbons|
|Idaho||Mountain Home Air Force Base||TCE, aviation fuel and benzene|
|Joliet Army Ammunition Plant Manufacturing Area||TNT, tetryl, DNT, lead, VOCs, and metals|
|Kansas||Fort Riley||Vinyl chloride, solvents, perchloroethylene (PCE), VOCs, waste oils and degreasing solvents|
|Maine||Loring Air Force Base||Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as trichloroethylene (TCE), fuel-related compounds, including benzene and toluene, fuel, oil, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), PCBs, and heavy metals|
|Brunswick Naval Air Station||Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides and metals|
|Portsmouth Naval Shipyard||Chromium, lead, and cadmium-plating sludge; asbestos insulation; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); waste paint and solvents; mercury-contaminated materials; sandblasting grit containing various metal wastes|
|Maryland||Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard||Semi-volatile organic compounds, metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides and dioxin|
|Fort George G. Meade Army Base||Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), other volatile organic compounds, atrazine and certain pesticides|
|Aberdeen Proving Ground||Various metals, pesticides, phosphorus, PCBs, and VOCs|
|Andrews Air Force Base||Petroleum and hazardous chemicals|
|Patuxent River Naval Air Station||Sewage treatment plant sludge, cesspool wastes, spent oil absorbents, paints, antifreeze, solvents, thinners, pesticides and photo lab wastes|
|Massachusetts||Otis Air National Guard Base/Camp Edwards||Methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA), TCE, PCE, and Freon], Jet Fuel-4, Aerozine-50, red fuming nitric acid, hydrazine, No. 2 fuel oil, diesel fuel, Waste battery electrolyte, cleaners, solvents, and paint thinners|
|Fort Devens-Sudbury||Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, and inorganics|
|Hanscom Field/Air Force Base||Chlorinated solvents, jet fuel and other petroleum compounds|
|South Weymouth Naval Air Station||Lead-based paint, fuels|
|Fort Devens||PCE, arsenic, iron, magnesium, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury contamination|
|Michigan||Wurtsmith Air Force Base||Metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, including trichloroethylene, 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and vinyl chloride|
|Minnesota||Twin Cities Air Force Reserve Base||Arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, lead, nickel, selenium and vanadium|
|New Hampshire||Pease Air Force Base||Perflouronated compounds (PFCs), jet fuel, VOCs, PAHs, pesticides and metals|
|New Jersey||McGuire Air Force Base||Arsenic, barium, cadmium, chlorobenzene, copper, lead, mercury, methyl ethyl ketone, nickle, PCBs, toluene, zinc|
|New York||Griffiss Air Force Base||Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including trichloroethene (TCE), dichloroethene (DCE), vinyl chloride, heavy metals, including lead, chromium, and barium, as well as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)|
|Plattsburg Air Force Base||PFCs (specificallyperfluorooctanoic acid or perfluorooctane sulfonate), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including trichloroethene (TCE), dichloroethene (DCE), and vinyl chloride, fuel-related compounds (mainly benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene), pesticides, various metals including chromium and cadmium, and lead and munitions waste|
|North Carolina||Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point||Petroleum products|
|Camp Lejeune||Camp Lejeune|
|Ohio||Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base||Acetone, arsenic, benzene, vinyl chloride, ethylbenzene, thallium, thrichloroethylene, cis-1,2-dichloroethene, 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane, 1,2-dichloroethane|
|Oklahoma||Tinker Air Force Base||Chlorinated solvents and hexavalent chromium|
|Oregon||Umatilla Army Depot||Pesticide and NDX|
|Pennsylvania||Naval Air Development Center||Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), paints, solvents, sludges from industrial wastewater treatment, waste oils, TCE, carbon tetrachloride, PCE, PCBs|
|Middletown Air Field||VOCs including trichloroethylene (TCE) and heavy metals such as lead|
|Letterkenny Army Depot||VOCs, dioxins|
|Tobyhanna Army Depot||Volatile organic compounds including trans-1,2-dichloroethylene, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, and vinyl chloride|
|Willow Grove Naval Air & Air Reserve Station||Volatile organic compounds (such as PCE), PFOs, TCE|
|Rhode Island||Newport Naval Education/Training Center||Acids, solvents, paint, waste oil, and oil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)|
Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot
|Paint waste, pesticides, floating fuels and contaminants (benzene, chlorobenzene and pesticides)|
|South Dakota||Ellsworth Air Force Base||1,1-dichloroethane, 1,2-dichloroethylene, trichloroethylene, arsenic, and chromium|
|Tennessee||Memphis Defense Depot||Arsenic, dieldrin, PAHs, PCBs, PCE and TCE|
|Utah||Hill Air Force Base||VOCs, chromium, cadmium, manganese and arsenic|
|Virginia||Langley Air Force Base/NASA Langley Research Center||Sources include abandoned landfills, fueling areas, wastewater treatment plants, the stormwater system, warehouses, spill sites, electrical substations and transformers, fuel tanks, burning areas, septic tanks, storage areas, waste pits, and training areas. Remedial investigations, remedy selection and remedial designs are underway.|
|Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division||Trichloroethanes, tetrachloroethanes, dichloroethanes, dichloroethenes, methylnaphthalene, DDD, DDE, DDT, carbazole, flurene, acetone, alpha-chlordane, aluminum, anthracene, antimony, aroclor, arsenic, barium, benzene, benzos, beryllium, cadmium, carbon disculfide, chlordane, chromium, chrysene, cobalt, copper, cyanide, dibenzos, dieldrin, endrin aldehyde, ethylbenzene, fluoranthene, gamma-chlordane, heptachlor, RDX, indeno pyrene, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, methyl mercury, naphthalene, nickel, PAH, PCBs, phenanthrene, phenol, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pyrene, selenium, silver, tetrachloroethene, thallium, toluene, TPH, tricholoethene, vanadium, xylene, zinc|
|Naval Weapons Station Yorktown||Aluminum, anthracene, antimony, aroclor 1221, arsenic, benzos, beryllium, cadium, chloroethene, chromium, chrysene, cyanide, dibenzos, fluoranthenes, gamma-chlordane, hezahydros, indeno pyrene, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, PCBs, pjemamtjreme. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pyrene, tetrachloroethene, thallium, vanadium, zinc|
|Norfolk Naval Base (Sewells Point Naval Complex)||Halogenated and non-halogenated solvents, corrosives, paint wastes, wastes from electroplating operations, petroleum products, oils and lubricants, construction debris, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), contaminated oils|
|Norfolk Naval Shipyard||Industrial wastes, scrap metal, waste oils, hydraulic oils, cutting oils, and oils contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (‘PCBs’), spent cleaners, solvents, paint, paint sludges, thinners, blasting residues, asbestos, batteries, plating wastes, and cleaning boilers solutions|
|Washington||McChord Air Force Base||VOCs, including TCE and DCE, benzene contaminated fuels|
|Bangor Naval Submarine Base||TNT and RDX|
|Fairchild Air Force Base||VOCs (primarily TCE), semi-volatile organic compounds and inorganic compounds|
|Fort Lewis Logistics Center||Heavy metals, organic compounds, and VOCs including TCE, DCE, and PAHs|
|Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island (Ault and Seaplane)||VOCs including TCE and TCA, PCBs, heavy metals, pesticides, PAHs and dioxins. heavy metals including lead and arsenic, pesticides and PAHs|
|Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Complex||Petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals, VOCs and PCBs|
|West Virginia||Allegany Ballistics Laboratory||Trichloroethane, dichloroethene, DCE, carbazole, aluminum, anthracene, antimony, arsenic, barium, benzos, cadmium, calcium, chlorothene, chromium, chrysene, dioxins and furans, fluoranthene, lead, manganese, mercury, methylene chloride, nickel, sodium, TCE, thtrachloroethene, thallium, vanadium, zinc|
|West Virginia Ordnance||Asbestos, nitroaromatic compounds including TNT, trinitrobenzene, and dinitrotoluene, and arsenic, lead and beryllium|
|Wyoming||F.E. Warren Air Force Base||Gasoline, solvents, oil, lubricating oils, hydraulic fluid, ethylene glycol, batteries, battery acid, coal ash, fly ash, paint, and trichloroethylene|
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