The Department of Veterans Affairs recently launched the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry for service members and veterans who may have been exposed to airborne hazards such as burn pits, oil-well fires and dust storms during military service. Participation in the registry is voluntary. Those who are eligible to register include any veteran or service member who served in: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation New Dawn (OND), or in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, or anywhere in the Southwest Asia theater of operations after August 2, 1990 to include Djibouti, Africa after September 11, 2001. Eligible service members and veterans can enroll in the registry by completing a self-assessment questionnaire on-line at https://veteran.mobilehealth.va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry.
Veterans and service members 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. 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.
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