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Air Pollutants

Exposure during military service to the airborne hazards listed below could potentially cause certain health problems in Veterans, depending on a number of other factors.

Responding to concerns of many returning Veterans, VA will continue to study the health risks of pollution in Iraq and Afghanistan, including burn pit smoke, and establish a new registry for eligible Veterans. Learn more about VA's plan.

Smoke rising from a burn pitBurn Pits
Open-air pit waste disposal at military sites

Oil well fire during the Gulf WarOil Well Fire, Smoke (Gulf War)
Oil or gas wells that caught on fire and burned during the 1990-1991 Gulf War

Smoke of sulfur fire Sulfur Fire (Al Mishraq, Iraq)
Sulfur plant burned almost a month in June 2003; large amounts of sulfur dioxide released into the air

Smoke pouring out of a smokestackAtsugi Waste Incinerator
Atsugi, Japan: Combustion waste disposal that burned industrial and medical waste

Dust surrounding a group of paratroopersSand, Dust and Particulates
Tiny airborne matter that can cause respiratory and other health problems