Agent Orange was a term that unfortunately became very familiar to Vietnam-era military veterans. It was a defoliant that was used during the war and was later discovered to have wide-ranging and in some cases, devastating effects on the health of many soldiers who had been exposed to it.

Much like that situation, the health effects of chemical exposure may not be diagnosed or determined until well after exposure when scientific studies are completed. It is for that reason that certain South Dakota veterans are being encouraged to sign up for the "Burn Pit Registry".

 

The Veteran's Administration (VA) Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry is available to eligible veterans and service members to document their exposures and report health concerns through an online questionnaire.

Eligible veterans and service members include those who served in:

  • Southwest Asia theater of operations on or after August 2, 1990
  • Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm
  • Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn
  • Djibouti, Africa on or after September 11, 2001

The use of open burn pits was a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside of the U.S., such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Airborne hazards like smoke, and other emissions, from these pits, contained an unknown mixture of substances that may have short and long-term health effects, especially for individuals who were exposed for longer periods or those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma or other lung or heart conditions.

Veterans should know:

  • There is no cost to participate
  • Participation is not required for other VA benefits such as disability compensation
  • Enrollment in VA health care is not required
  • It takes about 40 minutes to complete the questionnaire
  • Veterans can do it in on sitting or save it & come back to it later
  • Veterans can print it & use the completed questionnaire to discuss concerns with their healthcare providers.

This registry allows veterans to become more aware of their own health and to help identify health conditions possibly related to burn pit exposure or other airborne hazards during military service

Veterans can access the registry on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. For further questions or other assistance, call 605-333-6869.

 

Source: South Dakota Department of Veteran's Affairs