Deployment-Related Exposures

During deployment, service members can potentially be exposed to a variety of chemical, physical and environmental hazards which can affect their health in the short term and cause ongoing health problems in the long term. Some exposures may cause worsening of existing health conditions such as asthma.

Deployment-related exposures include:

  • Warfare agents (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) warfare agents)

A brief history of deployment-related exposures and initiatives to gather data which can be used to address exposure concerns can be found in the article Military Exposures and Health Hazards, A new era in post-deployment health, published February 1, 2016.

To help health care providers evaluate patients with concerns about deployment-related exposures and the relationship of potential exposures to the patients’ symptoms, the Department of Veterans Affairs created the fact sheet Evaluating Veterans with Environmental Exposure Concerns: The Basics, November 2015.

Patients with deployment-related health concerns may initially know more about the deployment specific exposures than the health care provider. The provider should thoroughly research the patient’s deployment-related health concerns and identify known risks and exposures for a particular deployment.

The information below and in the following sections can help health care providers find pertinent information on deployment-related exposures.

Information and Resources on Deployment-Related Exposures from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Military Exposures

  • Military Exposures Web page
    • Provides a menu for finding information on exposures listed by wars and operations, by exposure categories and alphabetically. Also links to exposure registries, research, publications and provider resources.
  • Deployment Exposures Web page
    • Provides a list of potential deployment exposures with brief descriptions and signs and symptoms of the exposure.
  • Exposure Ed App, VA App Store
    • In this app, exposures are defined as environmental conditions that veterans may have experienced that could potentially impact their health. The app provides comprehensive information about exposures and can serve as a guide for discussing exposure-related concerns with patients. It also contains information on available VA programs and benefits.

Deployment-Related Health Concerns and Conditions

  • Exposure Related Health Concerns
    • Provides a list of potential deployment health concerns, including infectious diseases, occupational and radiation hazards, Gulf War veterans' illnesses and toxic embedded fragments with brief descriptions.
  • Deployment Related Health Conditions
    • Provides a list of potential deployment health conditions, including leishmaniasis, malaria, medically unexplained symptoms, hearing conditions, and sleep disorders with brief descriptions of these conditions and associated signs and symptoms.

Information and Resources on Deployment-Related Exposures from the U.S. Army Public Health Center (Provisional) (USAPHC)