The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry in June 2014 to better understand the long-term health effects of service members’ exposure to burn pits and other airborne hazards during deployment.
The use of burn pits is a common waste-disposal practice at military locations outside the United States such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. These burn sites are known to contain unknown mixtures of refuse, chemicals and human waste.
According to the VA, the number of new participants in the burn-pit registry just passed 100,000 — but how it that possible?
JQP recently learned the registry’s Website has been inaccessible* via any Internet browser for at least a month.
One reader reports frustration saying he’s tried about every means to access the site — with no luck.
“I was recently deployed to Afghanistan where burn pits are still an ongoing issue. I was instructed to register on the burn-pit registry,” he said. “I tried to register before I left the AOR (Area of Responsibility). The site would not load on the computers in Afghanistan. I tried again when I returned to the states — does not work on Air Force computers with Internet Explorer. I tried to register on my home computer, and the site will not even load on chrome on Windows.”
The VA reports smoke from these pits contain substances that may have short-and long-term health effects, especially for those who were exposed for long periods or those more prone to illness such as individuals with pre-existing asthma or other lung or heart conditions.
Since learning about the site’s deficiency, JQP has tried on numerous occasions to access the registry site. We’ve tried via, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox — all browsers lead to a dead end, and the site’s landing page appears to be stuck in perpetual “load” mode.
The website boasts that veterans can “Sign up in 3 easy steps,” if the site were to load correctly. To start your sign have a “Premium DS Logon Level 2 account to participate.”
If you don’t have your Logon, good luck following these directions to get one.
“Please help,” said the JQP reader. “Sorry I feel as if I need to submit this anonymously for my own protection — Retribution is alive and well in the USAF.”
JQP has reached out to the VA on two, separate occasions and has not received a response.
*This morning, JQP sent an inquiry to the VA to notify of this story’s impending publication. There was no reply from the VA but the website appears to be working now -very slowly.
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