Victims of Agent Orange Push Ottawa For Public Inquiry
Date: Wednesday, September 14 2005
The following letter is authored by Mr. Ken Dobbie.
Some time has gone by since the release of the information concerning the chemical defoliation of CFB Gagetown, I want to add a few facts.
2,4-D + 2,4,5-T (which the Americans called Agent Orange & Agent Purple) was negligently sprayed on the training area of CFB Gagetown from 1956 to 1964.
In 1964, there was a spraying accident involving a temperature inversion, which caused the Dioxin-laced spray to drift across the Saint John River to the market gardens of communities from Burton to as far down-river as Jemseg, primarily in the Sheffield to Maugerville area. However, the entire distance covered by the spray was 29 kilometers.
(I know the distance, because I drove the old river road in these communities in June 2005 and I clocked the distance as being 29.3 kilometers) The crops on all these farms were destroyed and the Crown compensated the farmers for the loss of their crops by paying them a total of $250,000 in 1964.
This was not the first time this had happened.
According to the August 8th, 1964 edition of the Fredericton Daily Gleaner (and I quote):
"Meanwhile, Camp Gagetown officials are not too concerned about the situation. One officer said complaints of crop damage were received every year."
Mr. Baker, project engineer and local head of Defense Construction Limited
(A division of DND) said that: "…Compensation for fair and reasonable crop damage after due investigation has been paid in the past and will be paid in the future," Mr. Baker said.
This admission shows that there were similar spraying accidents BEFORE 1964.
One has to wonder just how toxic the vegetables were in successive years, because we all know that Dioxin is a persistent and bioaccumulative toxin. Since Dioxin has a half-life of over 10 years in the soil, it makes a person wonder what happened to all the people's health who consumed vegetables grown in these market gardens in the immediate years after 1964. Keep in mind that these market gardens supplied produce to the entire Fredericton area and some of them exported their vegetables to other parts of New Brunswick as well as out of the province.
These farms grew vast quantities of vegetables. One farmer is reported to have lost 25,000 tomato plants in the summer of 1964.
In 1965, for a number of factors, one being the spray accident, secondly because the military were not satisfied with the kill ratio of Agent Orange, they switched to using Tordon 101 for the next twenty (20) years until 1984.
Tordon 101 is Agent White, which contained 2,4-D, plus Picloram in a 4:1 ratio. The deadly part of this mix was Picloram, which contained Hexachlorobenzene (HCB).
According to the EPA website (www.epa.gov/pbt/hexa.htm):
"Because Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) is persistent and bioaccumulative, it stays in our environment for a long time and contaminates our food chain. HCB can cause severe health problems for humans and other wildlife." It:
· Damages bones, kidneys, and blood cells
· Can harm the immune system
· Lowers the survival rates of young children
· Can cause abnormal fetal development
· Harms the liver, endocrine, and nervous system
· May cause cancer
Again, to emphasize, this persistent, bioaccumulative toxin (BCT) was sprayed for twenty years from 1965 to 1984.
Our military and government of the time approved the extensive use of these persistent, bioaccumulative defoliants and even strengthened the mix to achieve a greater kill ratio.
In total, from 1956 to 1984, our governments and DND sprayed over 1.3 million liters of persistent bioaccumulative toxins, Dioxin and Hexachlorobenzene, over an area of 181,000 acres of the CFB Gagetown training area.
Any person coming in contact with these persistent toxins would have been poisoned. People in the training area were assured that there was no danger to their health, numerous veterans have stated this fact. But the fact is that anyone going into the training area would have been poisoned if they traveled in the spray areas. Since the government sprayed 181,000 acres which is more than one third of the acreage of the training area, it became inevitable that travel, or staying in various parts of the training area exposed and poisoned people. Later in their lives, the poisonous toxins would have already done the damage in the form of all kinds of disorders, diseases and cancers.
So when the government says that the spraying only occurred in 1966 and 1967, remember the facts. They are lying and their lies are only being compounded by their deceit and stupidity in thinking that this is going to go away.
Mr. Blaney has been given an enormous task to find the truth.
Let us hope that he does and when he does that he communicates that truth to the government that they were and are responsible for making thousands of people sick, dead or dying.
However, given the facts that we already know, I personally do not see the need for a fact-finding committee. The facts are already known, thus the only real way to get to the truth of what happened at CFB Gagetown is to call for a public inquiry.
I urge all Canadians to contact your MP and demand a public inquiry into our government and military who willfully contaminated an area with deadly toxins that was to be used by personnel both military and civilian. And that toxic contamination resulted in death, disablement and sickness in thousands of people.
I urge all of you who read this to contact your MP and ask them to demand a public inquiry when Parliament resumes later this month.
A public inquiry is the way to the truth.
Visit the Agent Orange web Site www.agentorangealert.com/pages/6/index.htm
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on September 14, 2005]