Burn Pits


IAVA’s members have identified 6 priority issues that matter most to them.

Support for Toxic Exposure Injuries

Our troops are exposed to toxic materials that no one should be subjected to.

Burn Pits

The most common means of toxic exposure, burn pits have been used extensively since 1990 to protect privacy and leave as little footprint behind as possible. Servicemembers use jet fuel to burn waste including chemicals, paint, medical and human waste, metal/aluminum cans, munitions and other unexploded ordnance, petroleum and lubricant products, plastics, rubber, wood, and discarded food.

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Other Toxic Exposures

Unfortunately, Burn Pits are not the only means by which our veterans and servicemembers are exposed to toxins. Other exposures include:

Contaminated Groundwater
Agent Orange
Radiation Exposure
Embedded Fragments
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IAVA Burn Pits 101

What is a Burn Pit?

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How can I help?

Take Action

I have been exposed

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Up to Speed: Burn Pits

What are Burn Pits?

Burn Pits, a common way to get rid of waste at military sites in Iraq and Afghanistan, are the Agent Orange of our generation. IAVA and other VSO partners are educating the public and elevating the issue to ensure it becomes a national priority. Our members see Burn Pits as a critical, urgent and growing threat that will impact an entire generation.

How do burn pits affect servicemembers and veterans?

How widespread is the problem?

Why aren’t we protecting our veterans?

This is appalling, how can I help?

Donate to support our work

We can’t do this alone, we need your support to ensure the VA provides service to veterans who gave everything for this country.

Support Our Work

Take Action

Learn about our supported legislation to ensure veterans are cared for and take action.

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How is IAVA fighting?

IAVA is working hard with other groups and leaders to ensure that those who fought for our country are treated for the terrible diseases that are lingering after their service. Even after legislation is signed into law, IAVA stays engaged with policymakers to maintain oversight of its proper and timely implementation. Learn about our most current legislation below.

Support Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits & Other Toxins

RECENT WIN: The Honoring Our PACT Act, signed into law on August 10, 2022, established a list of new diseases as service-connected for veterans who have deployed since August 2, 1990, so that they can receive VA benefits as a result of their military toxic exposures.

Thank you for your help in getting critical burn pits and toxic exposure legislation passed into law.


Become a Veteran Advocate

We fight and win for veterans every day, but we can’t do it without you. Commit to supporting veterans and we’ll keep you updated about our important work and let you know how you can help.

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Support Our Efforts

We can’t do this alone, we need your support to ensure the VA provides service to veterans who gave everything for this country.



Have you been exposed?

You are not alone! Take these actions immediately.


The VA estimates that 3.5 million veterans are eligible to register in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, which tracks exposures to airborne toxins. However, because enrollment is voluntary, the registry is not well-known. IAVA has been fighting hard to spread the word. Registry enrollment has increased by about 100% since IAVA began its campaign for the Burn Pits Accountability Act.

If you are a veteran or servicemember who has been exposed to Burn Pits, sign up for the registry now.

We're Here for You

Need help navigating VA? Need help determining your eligibility for benefits provided for by the PACT Act?

IAVA understands the system can be a bit overwhelming when applying for VA benefits.

IAVA’s veteran care partners are here to help.


PACT Act Benefits

Since passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act in August, 2022, numerous resources and benefits have become available for toxic-exposed veterans and their families. These benefits apply to multiple generations of service. Even if you’ve been denied VA benefits in the past for toxic exposure related illness, you may be eligible for benefits now as a result of the PACT Act.

If you are a veteran or service member who has been exposed to Burn Pits or other toxins from your service, check these resources for help.


Share Your Toxic Exposure Story

The best person to talk about your experience with burn pits or toxic exposure is you. Please share your story with us. Together, we can use our stories to make lasting change for veterans and servicemembers.



There are other hazards beyond Burn Pits that occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan that may also pose a danger for respiratory illnesses. These include inhaled irritant gases, high levels of fine dust, heavy metals due to operations in urban environments, plus the potential impact to the respiratory system from the effects of explosives and the inhalation of depleted uranium used in munitions.

It’s past time that comprehensive action is taken to address the growing concern that these exposures have severely impacted the long term health of veterans who served after 9/11.


IAVA's Policy Priorities

Select a topic from the list below to learn about IAVA’s advocacy priorities.


Our country has an obligation to fulfill its promise to honor and support vets. Make a donation today to help IAVA fulfill its mission to connect, unite, and empower post-9/11 veterans.

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