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Military Health System

VA Expands Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry Eligibility

Image of Soldiers patrol in Syria in front of a Bradley tank. Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. Service members and veterans that deployed to Syria beginning September 11, 2001, are now eligible to join the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry.

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More than 325,000 service members and veterans have joined the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to date, and recent updates expand eligibility and make it easier for service members and veterans to participate.

“These updates are important in that they demonstrate the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs collective resolve to keep our service members and veterans informed about the registry, support requirements in National Defense Authorization Acts, and support the recently signed Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022,” according to Steve Jones, Force Readiness and Health Assurance Policy director. “The DOD and the VA remain committed to better understanding and mitigating the health effects of deployment-related exposures such as airborne hazards and open burn pits.”

In 2014, the VA developed the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to help service members and veterans document potential exposure to airborne hazards while deployed overseas. The registry is a secure database of health information provided by service members and veterans that helps the VA collect, analyze, and publish data on health conditions that may be related to environmental exposures experienced during deployment.

After completing the online questionnaire, participants have the option to discuss their health care with a provider in an optional medical evaluation.

This summer, the VA added Egypt, Syria, and Uzbekistan to the list of eligible deployment locations. If you are a service member or veteran who served any amount of time in the Southwest Asia theater of operations or Egypt beginning August 2, 1990, or in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, or Uzbekistan beginning Sept. 11, 2001, you are eligible to sign up for the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry—regardless of whether you recall being exposed to airborne hazards.

These regions include the following countries, bodies of water, and airspace above these locations:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Gulf of Aden
  • Gulf of Oman
  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Syria
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uzbekistan
  • Waters of the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea

Additionally, the VA has adjusted the registry’s functionality to enable participants to return to the registry portal at any time after initial submission to add deployments. “This enhancement is especially useful for participants who initially joined while on active duty, and it enables users to create a more complete picture of their exposure history for themselves and their health care providers,” said Dr. Eric Shuping, director of operations, the VA Health Outcomes Military Exposures. “We ask that you wait at least 90 days after your return from deployment to log in and update your registry profile; this allows time for the DOD deployment information to be cycled into VA databases.”

To check whether you’ve already joined the registry and make additional entries in your profile, visit https://veteran.mobilehealth.va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry/ and click “Get Started” to log in using your DS Logon Level 2 account. Then, to add deployments, click “Next Steps” and “Add New Deployments.”

If you are eligible based on your deployment history and have not yet signed up, join the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry and encourage your fellow service members and/or veterans to join, too. Participation is a key component in taking control of your own health and supporting the DOD and the VA research efforts. In fact, registry data supported VA’s recent decisions to establish service connection for certain conditions as a result of presumed exposure to fine particulate matter.

To view a full list of these conditions, please visit the VA’s Public Health webpage; and to learn what the PACT Act means for veterans’ benefits. Please note that participation in the registry will not affect your access to health care or benefits, and it is not related to the VA disability compensation claims process.

To learn more about the registry, visit Health.mil’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry webpage, for a brief video, fact sheet, FAQs, and other informational materials. 

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Last Updated: August 31, 2022
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