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Concerned about airborne hazard exposures?

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For Veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other areas of Southwest Asia, exposure to airborne hazards like burn pits might be a serious concern.

Even if you don’t think you were exposed to a specific hazard, you can take steps to proactively monitor your own health and help other Veterans.

Understanding the science of airborne hazard exposures

We all interact with thousands of substances in our daily lives. Some substances are only harmful if they get into our bodies in large quantities. Others are toxic even in the smallest amounts. Determining whether potentially harmful substances have a negative impact on our health requires understanding the amount, frequency, and intensity of the exposure.

How an exposure occurred – whether it was ingested, inhaled or touched your skin – can also be a factor. Because people rarely stay in one place, do just one job or engage in the same activities throughout their lives, it can be hard to determine with certainty that exposure to any one substance or source directly causes a given health condition.

This is also true of exposure to airborne hazards. Many health conditions related to these hazards are temporary and should disappear after the exposure ends. Other longer-term issues may be caused by a combination of hazardous exposures, injuries or illnesses, including:
•The smoke and fumes from burn pits.
•Fuel, aircraft exhaust, and other mechanical fumes.
•Sand, dust, and particulate matter.
•General air pollution common in certain countries.
•Fuel, aircraft exhaust, and other mechanical fumes.
•Smoke from oil well fires.
•Blast or noise injuries.

Join the registry today

VA established the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry in 2014 to put data to work for Veterans and help us better understand the potential health effects of these exposures. By joining the registry, you can provide information that supports ongoing research and helps VA provide better care to all Veterans.

It can also help you identify health concerns, discuss them with your provider and get follow-up care. You can even submit a copy of your registry questionnaire to support your VA claim if you choose.

We also encourage all Veterans concerned about toxic exposures during their military service to talk to their health care provider, apply for VA health care, and file a claim for compensation and benefits.

Once enrolled, your VA care team will work with you to understand your health concerns and connect you with the care and services you need to get – and stay – healthy.

Sign up. Get care. Help others. Learn more and contact your care team today!

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