The Department of Veterans Affairs has registries for ionizing radiation, Agent Orange, Gulf War exposures, depleted uranium from spent munitions, toxic embedded fragments and airborne hazard/open burn pits. But service members must opt-in. They are not automatically added to the registry. The registries themselves are often unwieldy or incapable of tracking trends.
So far, more than 204,000 veterans and service members have added themselves to the airborne hazards and burn pits registry since 2014, though the VA estimates as many as 3.5 million veterans are eligible to register.
For more information on adding yourself or a deceased family member to that registry, click here.
The VA in 2019 established the Airborne Hazards and Burn Pits Center of Excellence, specializing in clinical research related to burn pit exposure.
“VA is addressing veterans concerns about the health effects of airborne hazards and burn pit exposure,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “Establishing this program through the center is a testament to that and we will continue to collaborate with outside partners to ensure its ongoing success.”
More than eight years in the making, the Defense Department is still working to create a database, the Individual Long Exposure Record (ILER) expected to launch in October to make exposure data available to VA doctors and scientists. Service members who want access to their own records will have to file Freedom of Information Act requests.
For more information about burn pits, toxic exposure and what TAPS is doing to help, click here.
For more on military exposures from the VA, click here.
For more on the multiple environmental exposure registries at the VA, click here.
For more on toxic exposure legislation in Congress, click here.