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Jet Fuels

Senior Airman takes a sample of Jet-A fuel from a pipe while the fuel is being offloaded from a truck at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
Senior Airman takes a sample of 
Jet-A fuel from a pipe while the
fuel is being offloaded from a
truck at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Many Veterans may have been exposed to jet fuels during their military service. Some Veterans may have been exposed while performing certain jobs, such as fueling an aircraft, transporting jet fuel, maintaining jet fuel storage tanks, fueling generators, or tending burn pits. Exposures may have also occurred due to accidental spills. Jet fuels may have been absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or accidentally swallowed.

Jet Fuel Spills in the Environment

In addition to potential exposure to fuels during certain duties in the military, Veterans may also be concerned about reports of jet fuel-contaminated drinking water at certain military bases. VA works with the Department of Defense and other federal agencies to track these situations and relay relevant and timely information to Veterans.

Camp Lejeune: Between the 1950s and 1980s, several wells that supplied water to certain areas at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina were contaminated by industrial solvents and a component of jet fuel from a leaking underground fuel storage tank, among other sources. Learn more about water contamination at Camp Lejeune and associated VA benefits.

Red Hill: In 2021, ground water was contaminated by thousands of gallons of JP-5 jet fuel that leaked from the Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility in Hawai'i, impacting drinking water on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and the Army's Aliamanu Military Reservation and Red Hill Housing. Read more about contaminated water at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Hawai'i.

Karshi Khanabad (K-2) Air Base: Service members at K-2 may have been exposed to jet fuel as a result of a leaking Soviet-era underground jet fuel distribution system. Read more about K-2.  

Health Effects Related to Jet Fuels

Health effects related to jet fuel exposures may include irritation to unprotected skin, eye and upper respiratory irritation, fatigue, breathing difficulty, headaches, dizziness, and sleep disturbances. Drinking jet fuels is dangerous and may result in convulsions, coma and even death.

Scientific research on the long-term effects of exposure to jet fuels is inconclusive; however, if an individual is exposed to jet fuel at very high levels over a long period of time, lung and heart problems may develop.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has published assessments on the most common jet fuels used in the military and their related effects: JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A | Toxicological Profile | ATSDR (

Jet Fuels and How VA Can Help

If you are concerned about health problems associated with jet fuel exposure during your military service, talk to your health care provider or contact your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.

If you feel that your health has been impacted by your service, VA encourages you to file a claim for disability compensation. These claims are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Environmental health coordinators directory.


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