The Veterans Affairs Department is asking the public for input on its planned registry of service members potentially exposed to pollution from open-air burn pits and other sources in Iraq, Afghanistan and the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War.
To establish its “Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry,” VA is legally required to solicit comment on the proposed collection of information for the index. An announcement Wednesday in the Federal Register directs those who want to voice their opinion to the U.S. government’s federal regulations website.
According to a press release issued Wednesday by VA, the registry will include a web-based questionnaire for troops and veterans to report health concerns and exposures.
The 2012 Dignified Burial and Veterans Benefits Improvement Act required VA to establish a burn-pit registry by January 2014.
Some troops who lived and worked near burn pits in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere have complained of ailments and symptoms ranging from shortness of breath and general malaise to rare lung diseases and cancerous tumors.
The law seeks to determine how many veterans were exposed to burn-pit smoke while deployed so VA can track their medical histories and keep them apprised of new treatments for associated conditions.
VA’s military exposures website encourages active and former troops who have concerns to speak with their doctors.