VFW Department of Illinois Service Office
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Q. From Art on Aug 13
Has there ever been any attention to the exposure to hazardous materials for mechanics that serviced aircraft. Are you aware that deicing fluid and jet fuel are also hazardous. Who is going to look out for the men behind the scene. Who can we contact to help with this?
A. From Barry
There are no presumptive disabilities based on such exposure.
Each case must be considered on its own merit.
I have over the years filed many claims based on solvent and fuel exposure.
The disabilities claimed range from skin problems at the sight of exposure, peripheral neuropathy of the hands, and respiratory conditions due to inhalation.
The claims are based on occupational exposure such as a mechanic using solvents, or POL specialist, etc or based on accidental exposure such as an aircraft accident resulting in JP4 exposure.
A claim of this type must include an affirmative medical opinion from a doctor treating the claimed condition that the disability is "to a degree greater than 50% as likely as not" the result of the chemical exposure.
The veteran must be able to identify the nature of the exposure (how), the chemical or type of chemical he was exposed to, and the duration (once, occupational between dates, etc).
There must be an attempt to state that post service exposure did not contribute to the condition. For instance, "I was a mechanic for two years in service. After service I worked as a mechanic at ABC Ford for 30 years". That isn't gonna work.
However "after service I worked in retail sales and was never exposed to similar products after service" is a statement that identifies the limited exposure.
Other issues such as smoking will impact on respiratory claims. If you are diabetic that will impact on peripheral neuropathy claims. Skin conditions on non exposed areas will impact on skin condition claims.
A complete chronological post service history from the veteran of complaints and symptoms is absolutely required even if there are no medical records of treatment documenting the history of symptoms.
Any treatment records available must be obtained.
Any claim which does not address these points is doomed.
Thank you for your inquiry. I hope this is helpful to you.
Our office would be pleased to assist you if you would like to file such a claim.
If you already have filed and are already represented you should discuss your claim with your representative with the points I have made above.