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Toxic Embedded Fragments

Pits left from roadside bomb

Some Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) have retained toxic embedded fragments in their bodies after blast injuries sustained during military service.

These Veterans may be eligible for medical surveillance conducted by the Toxic Embedded Fragment Surveillance Center at the Baltimore VA Medical Center.

Shrapnel is a common term to describe the toxic fragments from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), bombs, mines and shells. Some of the fragments may contain depleted uranium.

Health problems related to toxic embedded fragments

Although health problems caused by toxic embedded fragments are not fully understood, generally fragments are potentially harmful in two ways:

  • Injury at the site of the fragment
  • Metal ions released from the fragment can travel through the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body

Health concerns?

If you are concerned about toxic embedded fragments from injuries in military service, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.

OEF, OIF, and OND Veterans with embedded fragments may be eligible for medical surveillance through the Toxic Embedded Fragment Surveillance Center at the Baltimore VA Medical Center.

VA offers a variety of health care benefits to eligible Veterans. Not enrolled in the VA health care system? Find out if you qualify for VA health care.

Compensation benefits for health problems

Veterans may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to toxic embedded fragments from injuries during service. VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis. File a claim online.

Learn more about VA benefits.

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