WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Veterans Affairs Department has announced the establishment of the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry for eligible veterans and service members.
The registry is voluntary and open to those who may have been exposed to airborne hazards while serving in the U.S. Army in locations in Southeast Asia on or after August 2, 1990, or on or after September 11, 2001, including Afghanistan and Djibouti, where it was common to use burn pits to dispose of waste including potentially hazardous material. The registry is an effort to monitor the health effects of those exposed to open burn pits, toxic ariborne chemicals, and other airborne hazards like particulate matter.
The VA was mandated in section 201 of the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2012 to establish and maintain a registry for affected individuals. The VA expanded the eligibility to give individuals a standard assessment, enhanced outreach, health risk communication, and an optional free clinical evaluation.
Along with studies investigating the long-term health effects of exposure, the registry may be helpful in developing a standardized post-deployment exposure self-assessment and creating hypotheses on self-reported exposures and conditions as well as clinically determined conditions.
After completing the self-assessment questionnaire, participants will receive a participation letter and can request a free in-person medical evaluation for health concerns. Participants do not have to be enrolled for VA health care in order to participate in this registry. Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system who have completed the questionnaire are encouraged to contact a VA Environmental Health Coordinator in their area. The list of Coordinators is available on the VA website. Active duty servicemembers should contact their local servicing military hospital or facility to schedule an appointment, stating they want to address “health concerns related to the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry exposures.” Reserve members who meet the statutory definition of a Veteran can participate in the same manner as veterans.
Participation in the registry does not constitute a claim for disablity through VA, nor is it necessary to participate in order to file a claim.
Those deployed in support of the Persian Gulf War are also eligible to participate in both the new registry and the VA War Registry.
To participate in the registry, visit the VA Office of Public Health website.
For further information, contact Dr. Paul Ciminera at Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC, 20420 0R 202-461-1020.