At this time, there is conflicting and insufficient research to show that long-term health problems have resulted from burn pit exposure. VA continues to study the health of exposed Veterans. The registry is just one of several research projects currently underway.
The high level of fine dust and pollution common in Iraq and Afghanistan may pose a greater danger for respiratory illnesses than exposure to burn pits, according to a 2011 Institute of Medicine report.
3. Registry participation is voluntary.
The Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry is a database of information about Veterans and Servicemembers. Participation in the registry is voluntary and will not affect access to VA health care or compensation benefits. Veterans and Servicemembers can use the registry questionnaire to report exposures to airborne hazards (such as smoke from burn pits, oil-well fires, or pollution during deployment), as well as other exposures and health concerns.
The registry helps participants to become more aware of their health, while helping researchers to study the health effects of burn pits andother airborne hazards (e.g., sand, dust, and particulates. The online questionnaire can be used to identify health concerns, guide discussions with a health care provider and document deployment-related exposures.
VA will maintain the security of all information provided in the registry.
VA will determine eligibility for the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry based on deployment information from the Department of Defense (DoD). To be eligible, you must be a Veteran or Servicemember who deployed to contingency operations in the Southwest Asia theater of operations at any time on or after August 2, 1990 (as defined in 38 CFR 3.317(e)(2)), or Afghanistan or Djibouti on or after September 11, 2001. These regions include the following countries, bodies of water, and the airspace above these locations:
- Saudi Arabia
- Gulf of Aden
- Gulf of Oman
- United Arab Emirates
- Waters of the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and Red Sea
6. You need a DoD Self-Service Logon Level 2 account to participate.
You may participate in the registry by completing a web-based health questionnaire athttps://veteran.mobilehealth.va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry. To access the questionnaire, you will need your Department of Defense Self-Service Level 2 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.
7. You can sign up for the Burn Pit Registry in three easy steps.
Just head here: : https://veteran.mobilehealth.va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry/#page/home.
Step 1: Check your eligibility.
Step 2: Complete and submit the online questionnaire.
Step 3: Print and save your completed questionnaire for your records.
Veterans who are eligible for the registry are also eligible to obtain an optional no-cost, in-person medical evaluation (note this is not a disability examination).
8. Technical support is available for the registry.
If you are having any problems with registering, you can call the Registry Help Desk from 8 am-8 pm Eastern Time at 1-877-470-5947. Additional help can be found within the Registry Frequently Asked Questions athttps://veteran.mobilehealth.va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry/index.html#page/faq.
9. Help is already available for health issues at VA.
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 https://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.
10. You can file a claim related to health problems believed to be associated with burn pits.
Veterans may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to exposure to burn pits during military service. VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis. File a claim online. – See more at:https://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/burnpits/index.asp#sthash.yU8MHBhU.dpuf
For more information about burn pits and burn pit research head here:https://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/burnpits/index.asp
For more information about the Burn Pit Registry head here:https://veteran.mobilehealth.va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry/index.html#page/about
Dr. Paul Ciminera, MD, MPH, is the Director of the Post 9/11-Era Environmental Health Program within the Office of Public Health. He oversaw the design and development of the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. He is an Army Veteran and a board certified physician in General Preventive Medicine and Occupational Medicine. He currently leads VA’s efforts to develop standard screening and evaluation protocols for Veterans and Servicemembers with exposure concerns after deployment.