Red Hill Public Health

 Red Hill Public Health Response Summary

Last Updated: March 19, 2024
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​​​Background

  • ​​In November 2021, aviation fuel (JP-5) entered the drinking water system at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH).
  • Approximately 90,000 people who lived, worked, or went to school on JBPHH were exposed.
  • Many people had initial symptomsExternal Link​ such as rash, nausea, vomiting, headache, stomach pain, and eye irritation.
  • Some people continue to have health problemsExternal Link that started or worsened after the fuel release.​

What Defense Health Agency – Public Health is Doing

The Department of Defense (DoD) has charged Def​ense Health Agency – Public Health (DHA PH) with leading the effort to understand the health impacts of the Red Hill fuel release. We understand your concerns about potential health risks and are committed to providing answers and support.

  • Red Hill DoD Registry (Red Hill Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System [DOEHRS] Incident Report Registry): As of February 28, 2024, DHA has enrolled 55,728 DoD-affiliated people who were exposed to, or at risk of exposure to, the Red Hill fuel release in this Registry. DHA PH obtained housing and work rosters to populate the Registry, supplemented by people who self-reported their exposure to the fuel release.
  • DoD/VA Individual Longitudinal Exposure Record (ILER): Everyone listed in the Red Hill DoD Registry is also in the ILER, which records occupational and environmental hazardous exposures during military service or because of a military-related environmental exposure like Red Hill. When your doctor looks at your health record in the record system used by the Military Health System (MHS), called MHS GENESIS, your doctor can see that you are in a DoD registry and can click a button to launch your ILER record.
  • Independent Red Hill Registry: In addition to the DoD Red Hill Registry, DoD is committed to funding an independent Red Hill registry to study the long-term health of those exposed to the JP-5. Planning is ongoing in cooperation with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR). DHA will share updates as they become available.
  • Health Professional Training: DHA PH has developed education for health professionals who care for those exposed to the fuel release. The training helps health professionals understand what happened at Red Hill to enable better care for patients impacted by the release.
  • Healthcare Provider Fact Sheet: This one-page fact sheet provides clinicians who may not be familiar with the November 2021 fuel release at Red Hill with a summary of the release and recommendations to support their patients.
  • Health Care Analyses: DHA has examined TRICARE health data of patients exposed to or at risk of exposure to the JP-5. Since there were no individual-level measures of exposure to the hazard, all patients who lived or worked in areas served by the JBPHH water system were analyzed as a group. Soon after the fuel release, there was an increase in diagnoses that could be related to JP-5 exposure, including headache, abdominal pain, and rash. These diagnoses have returned to historic patterns. DHA will continue to monitor TRICARE health data and compare them to other populations to see if there is an increase in medical conditions associated with the Red Hill fuel release.
  • Outreach: DHA PH is committed to improving communication with those exposed to the JP-5 through regular e-updates, a Red Hill Health website, and webinars. To learn more, including how to subscribe to the e-updates, please visit the DHA Red Hill Public Health website.
  • ​Independent Report on Health Recommendations: DHA PH knows that those exposed to the JP-5, along with their doctors, have many questions, including what the health risks are, why some people are still feeling sick, and what kind of testing should be done. DHA PH is committed to involving non-DoD experts to address these important questions and looks forward to sharing updates on this important initiative.

 

Questions and Answers

  • ​Q: What is the purpose of the independent Red Hill registry?
    • ​A: The independent Red Hill registry will monitor the health and quality of life of those exposed to the fuel release and will help answer questions on the long-term health effects of fuel exposure. The registry operator will design, execute, and analyze the registry independent of DoD influence.

  • Q: Who will be able to join the independent Red Hill registry?
    • ​​A: Anyone who lived, worked, or attended school or daycare on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, or any facility served by the JBPHH water system at any time from November 20, 2021, through March 18, 2022, can join the independent Red Hill registry. 

  • Q: Why should I sign up for the independent registry?
    • ​A: The independent registry is critical to understanding the long-term health effects of the Red Hill fuel release. You will also be kept updated on important developments in understanding the health effects from the release. 

  • Q: How do I know if I'm in the DoD Registry?
    • ​A: To find out, email dha.redhill@health.mil.​ Please do not send sensitive personal information like your Social Security number, DoD ID number, date of birth, etc. But please include a good contact number in case we need to follow up with you. 

  • Q: Why do I still feel sick?
    • ​A: Unfortunately, the reasons some people continue to feel sick may be unclear. We know this can be frustrating not only to people exposed to the fuel release but also to their healthcare providers. We are continuing to try to better understand the causes of persistent symptoms among some people exposed to the Red Hill fuel release. 

  • Q: Should I get tested for fuel exposure?
    • ​​A: There are no recommended tests for people exposed to the Red Hill fuel release. DHA PH agrees with the Hawaii Department of Health's recommendationExternal Link​ that diagnostic testing should be specific to the patient's symptoms.​​