VA Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry
Military sites in Iraq and Afghanistan have often used burn pits as a way to dispose of waste. While research does not currently show that there are long term health effects from exposure to burn pits the VA continues to research this topic.
There have been reported effects to the skin, eyes, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, gastrointestinal tract and internal organs due to the toxins from burn pit smoke. Veterans who were exposed to the burn pits for longer periods of time may be at greater risk. Most of the irritation, such as eye irritation and burning, coughing and throat irritation, are temporary and will resolve once the veteran is no longer exposed to the burn pits. According to a 2011 Institute of Medicine Report, those deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq are at greater risk to respiratory illness due to the high levels of fine dust and pollution than to exposure to burn pits.
VA's Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry gives eligible veterans and service members the opportunity to document their exposures to burn pits and report any health concerns they may have through an online questionnaire. The eligible veterans include those who served in:
- Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn
- Djibouti, Africa on or after September 11, 2001
- Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm
- Southwest Asia theater of operations on or after August 2, 1990
There have been 141,246 veterans and service members to complete and submit the registry between April 25, 2014 and May 1, 2018.
To learn more about the VA Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry or for more information on the health effects from exposure to burn pits visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.