You may have heard about the Burn Pit Registry or Airborne Hazard Registry but what exactly is it?
The Burn Pit Registry - technically the Airborne Hazard and Burn Pit Registry - is run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is designed to help the VA track the health of veterans exposed to airborne hazards during their military service and possibly develop treatments to solve related health problems, or treatments to prevent health problems.
Who Is Eligible to Join the Registry?
Veterans who deployed during the following operations are eligible:
- Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm,
- Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom - (OIF/OEF),
- Operation New Dawn (OND).
Covered nations and regions include:
- Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates,
- Arabian Sea,
- Gulf of Aden,
- Gulf of Oman,
- Persian Gulf,
- Red Sea.
Veterans who served in those areas after Aug 2, 1990 may have been exposed to toxic chemicals in the air or fine desert dust that may cause breathing and other problems later in life.
You do not need to have been exposed to specific airborne hazards or have related health concerns to join in the registry.
Much like Agent Orange, many health affects to chemical exposure are not diagnosed or determined until well after the fact when scientific studies are completed.
Joining the registry will let you document your exposure and report health concerns through an online questionnaire. That way, if problems, or a link between pollutant exposure and long term health effects are found at a later date, the VA can contact you and provide possible treatment and benefits.
Veterans who were exposed to smoke from burn pits or other respiratory hazards and suffer from respiratory illnesses may be eligible for special VA healthcare and benefits.
Health Effects from Smoke and Particles
The VA says that toxins in dust and smoke can affect you all over including the skin, eyes, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract and internal organs.
Those who were exposed to burn pit smoke often, were in closer proximity to burn pits or oil well fires, or were exposed fine desert dust for longer periods of time may be at greater risk for health problems.
If you have health problems you believe may be related to your military service you should contact your physician or the VA for treatment. You should let them know you were exposed to burn pits in the military. Any VA doctor can help you get you enrolled in the registry.
The VA has also created the Gulf War Registry to assist Gulf War veterans track their exposures to other hazards during that conflict.
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