Veterans and Servicemembers who were close to burn pit smoke or exposed for longer periods may be at greater risk for health problems. Health effects from burn pit exposure will vary and depend on a number of factors such as the kind of waste being burned, pre-existing conditions, and wind direction.
There is not enough medical or scientific information to conclude that short or long-term health effects have occurred from exposures to smoke from burn pits or other airborne hazards during recent deployments. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to study the health of Veterans who have deployed to recent conflicts. VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) are working on initiatives that address clinical issues and the need for long-term studies.
Who is the registry for?
The Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry is a database of health information about Veterans and Servicemembers. Registry participation is open to any Veteran or Servicemember who served in:
- OEF/OIF/OND or in Djibouti, Africa, after September 11, 2001, or
- Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm or the Southwest Asia theater of operations after August 2, 1990
The Southwest Asia theater of operations includes the following locations: Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, waters of the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea, and the airspace above these locations.
Why should I participate in the registry?
By participating in the registry, you can make a difference in your health and the health of fellow Veterans and Servicemembers. Participate in the registry to become more aware of your own health and to receive information about ongoing health studies and VA services. Participants may request a no-cost medical evaluation in which to discuss their completed questionnaire with a VA or DoD health provider. In addition, other benefits include helping VA to learn more about the potential health effects of exposure to burn pits and other airborne hazards.
What will I need to participate?
You may participate in the registry by completing a web-based health questionnaire at https://veteran.mobilehealth. va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry. To access the questionnaire, you will need your Department of Defense Self-Service logon (DS Logon). You may apply for a DS Logon account at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/dsaccess if you do not already have one. The DS Logon is a secure, self-service identification that allows active-duty Servicemembers and Veterans to access several websites using a single username and password. VA will use deployment data provided by DoD to determine your eligibility for the registry.
What types of questions should I be prepared to answer?
We estimate that the questionnaire should take 40 minutes to complete. The questions have been designed to give a broad picture of your health and current and past exposures. You will be asked a series of questions in the following categories:
- Deployment dates and bases at which you were stationed
- Conditions and health issues that cause difficulty with daily activities
- Current and past health symptoms
- Residential history (where you’ve lived)
- Occupational history (where you’ve worked)
- Dust, gas, vapors or fumes exposures
- Home environment and hobbies
- Health care utilization
- Contact preferences
Why does the questionnaire ask questions about my current job and hobbies?
It is important for medical providers to have a complete picture of your health. The questionnaire asks a broad range of questions because an individual’s health is greatly influenced by their lifestyle. Health conditions can worsen over time from additional or prolonged exposures received during work or recreation. Your current or past jobs, hobbies, civilian exposures, and lifestyle will not affect eligibility for health care benefits.
I am experiencing symptoms that I believe are related to exposure to burn pits.
Help is available at VA and DoD. Medical professionals with expertise in military exposures and health care benefits are available at VA medical centers nationwide. Veterans who are already enrolled in VA health care should talk to their primary care provider. Veterans who are not already enrolled should talk to an Environmental Health Coordinator at the nearest VA medical center. Find a local Environmental Health Coordinator by visiting http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/coordinators.asp, or calling 1-877-222-8387. Servicemembers should discuss any concerns or health issues with their health care provider.
Learn more: http://www.publichealth.va.gov or call 1-877-222-8387