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Waste Incinerator in Atsugi, Japan

Smoke pouring out of a smokestack

From 1985 to 2001, personnel at Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi in Atsugi, Japan may have been exposed to environmental contaminants from off-base waste incinerators. The Shinkampo Incinerator Complex (SIC) was a combustion waste disposal equipped with incinerators that burned up to 90 tons of industrial and medical waste daily. Emissions included chemicals and other particulate matter.

A private Japanese company owned and operated the business. The U.S. Navy found a potential for increased health risks and worked with the Japanese government to close the SIC. The incinerator was shut down in May 2001.

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

Health effects from pollution at Atsugi

Short-term health effects could include irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, skin rashes, and sinus problems. These conditions usually went away after the exposure ended.

Since the 1990s, the Navy has informed sailors and their families about the possible long-term health effects of living at Atsugi. In 2009, the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center completed a study demonstrating no increased risk for cancer among NAF Atsugi residents compared to residents living at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, after 15 years of follow-up. The study showed significantly higher dermal (skin) complaints among the Atsugi residents both while they were in Japan and after they left, suggesting the possibility of long-term dermal effects.

Health concerns?

If you are concerned about exposure to environmental contaminants during service at NAF Atsugi, talk to your health care provider or contact your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator to help you get more information from a health care provider.

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 exposure to environmental contaminants during service at NAF Atsugi. VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis. File a claim online.

Learn more about VA benefits.

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