Special Environmental Health Registry Evaluation Programs for Veterans
VA maintains several health registry evaluation programs to track the health of Veterans exposed to environmental hazards during military service.
What environmental exposures do the evaluation programs cover?
- Ionizing Radiation: Ionizing radiation exposure comes from a variety of sources, including nuclear weapons testing or other activities during military service.
- Agent Orange: Agent Orange is a mixture of herbicides used in Vietnam from 1961 to 1971 to remove leaves from trees that provided cover for enemy forces during the Vietnam conflict. The name Agent Orange comes from the identifying stripe around the 55-gallon drum where it was stored.
- Gulf War: Gulf War Veterans may have been exposed to a wide variety of environmental hazards and potential harmful substances during their service in Southwest Asia. These include: burn pits; chemical and biological warfare agents; depleted uranium; oil well fires, smoke and petrochemicals; pesticides; pyridostigmine bromide (anti-nerve agent); and vaccinations (including anthrax and botulinum toxoid).
- Depleted Uranium (DU): DU is a byproduct of the uranium enrichment process to make nuclear fuel that was first used by the United States military in projectiles and armor for tanks during the Gulf War. It is a possible chemical hazard primarily internalized through shrapnel, contaminated wounds, or inhalation.
- Toxic Embedded Fragment: An embedded fragment (also called 'shrapnel') is a piece of metal or other material, such as plastic, that stays in the body after exposure to a blast or other similar traumatic incident. The word "toxic" means that these fragments are made from potentially harmful materials.
Who do I contact?
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System has an Environmental Health Registrar who can assist you or answer your questions.
Environmental Health Registrar
Two easy steps to participate in a Special Environmental Health Registry Evaluation Program for Veterans*
- Enroll/Register - Veterans already enrolled for health care at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, please skip to step 2. If you are not enrolled with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, you need to register. For more information, call our Health Benefits & Enrollment office at (412) 360-6993.
- Contact the Environmental Health Registrar at (412) 822-1139 to determine eligibility. If it is discovered that you have possible exposure, you will be scheduled for a registry examination with a VA Environmental Health Clinician.
* Please note: Enrollment in a Special Environmental Health Registry is not a Compensation & Pension claim. To file a benefits claim, please contact the Veterans Benefits Regional Office at 1-800-827-1000.
For more information on Special Environmental Health Registry Evaluation Programs for Veterans, please visit: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/index.asp