The VA has launched the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry for eligible Gulf War and Iraq-Afghanistan veterans to document exposure and health problems — but veterans have had difficulty accessing and signing up on the VA’s website.
The registry website seeks information from veterans or servicemembers who may have served on bases or near where trash was burned in an open pit, causing them to inhale fumes or other toxic particles of dust such as metals or bacteria, causing respiratory illnesses.
Eligible Veterans and Servicemembers include those who served in:
- Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn
- Djibouti, Africa on or after September 11, 2001
- Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm
- Southwest Asia theater of operations on or after August 2, 1990
Veterans have experienced problems trying to sign up for the registry, from accessing the site itself to fixing and addressing incorrect data, according to USA Today:
“Trying to register takes a long time, and the page crashes all the time,” Richard Gutierrez posted on the Wounded Warrior Project’s Facebook page Friday.
“What a crock,” Joel DeLand wrote. “I can’t get past the deployment page because they have it all messed up and won’t let me change it. Typical VA.”
“Wow. Even the link gives you the run-around,” Dan Longenberger wrote. “It takes you to the site, you click on the link there and then you’re basically in an infinite loop.”
“Tried three times now,” Joseph Cormier posted Saturday. “The website is nonhelpful.”
The VA has acknowledged problems with the site, particularly that some veterans who registered were incorrectly informed that they were not eligible based on their service.
Once the registry is working correctly, the VA and the Department of Defense are looking to:
- Develop a standard screening and evaluation of Servicemembers and Veterans with respiratory complaints after deployment in order to improve care
- Conduct a long-term study that will follow Veterans for decades looking at their exposures and health issues to determine the impact of deployment
How was your experience in signing up for the registry?