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Generalized Severe Skin Disorders Due to Toxic Exposure on Military Bases

From 1950, those stationed in various Army, Air Force, and Navy bases throughout the country were potentially exposed to harmful chemicals such as PFAS, industrial solvents, and benzene via the base water supply systems. Affected veterans who meet the time-on-station and service date requirements are eligible for compensation.

The pollutants documented as having degraded groundwater and drinking water from private wells likely increased the risk of many illnesses—including different types of autoimmune skin diseases—among federal civil service employees, active-duty military personnel, and their families, say scientists with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

A body of research into how these chemicals affect the human immune system finds suppressed immune function, hypersensitivity, and greater risk of autoimmune diseases.

Many studies have also shown that prolonged exposure to certain toxic chemicals can interfere with the immune system at the cellular level, which could lead to autoimmune diseases.

For example, toxic chemicals like trichloroethylene (TCE—an organic solvent that is used to remove grease from metal parts—can affect the hormones within our bodies.

Since hormones are also implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases, some scientists suggest that toxic chemicals in the environment may contribute to autoimmune diseases, including autoimmune skin diseases.

Increased Risk of Hypersensitivity Skin Disorder for Veterans Stationed at Contaminated Military Bases

The immune system plays a significant role in a large number of skin disorders, including hypersensitivity (allergic) and inflammatory skin disorders. Some autoimmune inflammatory skin diseases involve aberrant responses to autoantigens, controlled by B cells and T cells, with the presence of autoantibodies.

Others, involve activation of innate immune system cells (macrophages, neutrophils, mast cells, and natural killer cells), resulting in tissue damage in the absence of autoantigens and autoantibodies.

TCE is a highly effective dry cleaning solvent which has been used widely in DOD maintenance and service operations. Its characteristics may contribute to the onset of a spectrum of adverse health effects ranging from localized damage to induction of immune-mediated responses.

Patients with autoimmune diseases often face a long and difficult journey after they are diagnosed and during treatment. Those whose skin is affected face the additional stigma of having symptoms that are visible to everyone they meet, higher rates of severe depression, and issues with self-esteem.

Autoimmune diseases tend to bring complicated symptoms that require seeing doctors in several medical specialties. Autoimmune skin diseases cannot be cured, but specialists can help manage flare-ups with treatment. Some of the autoimmune disorders that affect the skin include:

  • Behcet's disease
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Lichen planus
  • Linear IgA disease
  • Lupus of the skin
  • Ocular cicatrical pemphigoid
  • Pemphigoid
  • Pemphigus
  • Vasculitis

If you served on active duty at targeted military bases with high levels of toxic contamination and experience the following symptoms, we strongly advise you to seek medical attention immediately, as you may have developed severe, generalized hypersensitivity skin disorder:

  • rashes
  • blisters
  • lesions
  • scaly patches

Speak to a Member of Our Team to Determine If We Can Help You With Your Claim

For decades, service members and their families ingested contaminated drinking water and bathed in water at military facilities that contained high levels of toxic chemicals, including:

  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Perchloroethylene
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Benzene

Military personnel and their family members who were unavoidably exposed to these toxic chemicals may be entitled to VA disability compensation and other benefits. To learn if you have a valid claim for veteran's disability compensation, you should speak to a member of our team as soon as possible.

Consequently, if you have recently been diagnosed with a severe, generalized hypersensitivity skin disorder and were stationed at one of the targeted military bases, either as a member of the military or a family member, please contact us and we will promptly help you recover the money you deserve for your injury through a compensation claim and also additionally through a VA claim.

If you have filed a claim and received a Rating Decision but were denied or are not satisfied with the rating percentage, please contact Atraxia Law today.

Our team of experts can help you—or your spouse, if you’re married to someone who served at the base—gather the documents you need to file an appeal to increase your VA rating and receive compensation that’s fair.

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