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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vets may sign up for registry after dust, smoke exposure

The Burn Pit Registry is finally open for business. Many veterans, as well as military independent contractors, allege that their exposure to air, ground and water pollution in Iraq and Afghanistan is causally connected to serious medical conditions. While this investigation by the VA continues, a lawsuit for benefits on behalf of those exposed is also pending in the US Supreme Court. Today's post is shared from

Operations officer Major Bill Gayler of Monticello, GA, tries to secure his gear during a ferocious sand storm at 101st Airborne Aviation Brigade's Forward Ammo and Refuel Point March 26, 2003, in the southern Iraqi desert. A blizzard of choking dust kept the 101st Airborne Division's fleet of more than 270 attack helicopters out of the battle for Iraq for the second day.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has opened a burn-pit registry to anyone who believes he or she may have been exposed to fumes from trash burned in open pits in Iraq and Afghanistan or to toxins, such as metal or bacteria, inhaled with dust.

The registry is open to those who fought in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, were stationed in Djibouti after Sept. 1, 2001, and to veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. After signing up for the registry, veterans may request a free medical exam.

"The dusty, polluted environments of Iraq and Afghanistan contain many potential airborne hazards," states a VA announcement, adding that fine particulate matter from dust and pollution might be more harmful than the smoke from the burn pits.

"Very small, fine particles (particulates) may cause more serious health problems because they can be inhaled deep into the lungs and airways," states VA's website on the subject. "These extremely small particles and liquid droplets can include acids, chemicals, metals, soil or dust."

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades theLaw Offices of Jon L Gelman have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.