Airborne Hazards and Burn Pit Exposures

On April 25, 2022, VA announced that nine rare respiratory cancers are now presumed service-connected disabilities due to military environmental exposures to fine particulate matter. These cancers include:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea
  • Adenocarcinoma of the trachea
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung
  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung
  • Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung

VA will process disability compensation claims for these conditions for Veterans who served any amount of time in the Southwest Asia theater of operations beginning Aug. 2, 1990, to the present, or Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria or Djibouti beginning Sept. 19, 2001, to the present.

VA added 3 presumptive conditions related to particulate matter exposure

The new presumptive conditions are asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. To be eligible for benefits, you must have gotten one of these conditions within 10 years of your separation from active service.

This will expand benefits for Veterans who served in:

  • Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present, or
  • The Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present

If you have a pending claim for one or more of these conditions, you don’t need to do anything. The Department of Veteran's Affairs will send you a decision notice when they complete their review.

We encourage all Veterans who are eligible to participate in VA’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry (AHOBPR). By joining the registry, you can provide information that can help the VA better understand the long-term effects of burn pit exposures. Even if you have not experienced any symptoms or illnesses you believe are related to burn pit exposure, your participation could help VA provide better care to all Veterans

  • Participation in the registry is separate from and cannot negatively impact your ability to file a claim or receive health care from VA.
  • You can save and submit your registry questionnaire and notes from the optional health evaluation support your claim.
  • You do not have to participate in the registry to be enrolled in VA health care or file a VA claim.
  • You can participate even if you do not recall any exposure to airborne hazards during your military service.

Full Burn Pit Exposure Presumptive List