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VA’s Action Plan: Burn Pits and Airborne Hazards

Registry for Veterans who may have been exposed

VA's Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry will allow eligible Veterans exposed to burn pit smoke and other airborne hazards to document their exposures and report health concerns. Veterans will enter information through a web-based questionnaire and have the opportunity to obtain an evaluation. Eligible Veterans include those who served in:

  • Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn
  • Djibouti, Africa after September 11, 2001
  • Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm
  • Southwest Asia theater of operations after August 2, 1990

The registry launch has been delayed. VA needs extra time to design and test the system to ensure functionality, data security and accessibility. Once a firm launch date is established, we will announce how to sign up for it.

You'll need a Department of Defense Self-Service logon (DS Logon) to sign up. Don't already have one? Go to My Access Center to register for a DS Logon.

The registry will keep Veterans informed about studies and treatments. It will also help VA to monitor the health conditions affecting Veterans. We will use the data to improve our programs to help Veterans with deployment exposure concerns.

View the law about establishing the registry and the questionnaire for the registry. Please don’t complete the questionnaire now. You will be able to complete it online when the registry is launched.

If you are concerned about your exposure, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.

Action plan guides treatment and study

Airborne hazards are substances moving through the air that pose danger or risk. The dusty, polluted environments of Iraq and Afghanistan contain many potential airborne hazards.

The high level of fine dust and pollution common in those areas may pose a greater danger for respiratory illnesses than exposure to burn pits on U.S. base camps, according to a 2011 Institute of Medicine report, Long-Term Health Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Acting on the findings and recommendations in the report, VA and the Department of Defense are working to:

  • Develop a standard screening and evaluation of Servicemembers and Veterans with respiratory complaints after deployment in order to improve care
  • Conduct a long-term study that will follow Veterans for decades looking at their exposures and health issues to determine the impact of deployment

Read the Feb. 4, 2013 notice in the Federal Register to learn more about VA’s strategy and action plan.

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