Monday, February 21, 2011

Agent Orange was tested at Fort Ritchie Army base

Agent Orange was tested at Fort Ritchie Army base

The Army disclosed two reports to COPT last week that were related to the testing of herbicides at various military installations, including Fort Ritchie, according to the COPT release.

Questions that arise include when was the testing done, how much was done, how it was applied and where it was applied, Nipps said.

“I think the Army is also trying to figure that out,” Nipps said.

The 2006 report is the result of a 2006 request by the VA to the Department of Defense to provide a list of places and dates, outside of Vietnam, where the department used herbicide agents, including Agent Orange, or where defense department personnel were likely exposed to such agents, according to the report. The VA asked for the list to evaluate the merits of veterans’ disability claims.

Veterans might be eligible for disability compensation and health-care benefits for diseases the VA has recognized as being associated with exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides, according to the VA’s website at Those diseases include certain cancers, ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, AL amyloidosis, and acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy, according to the agency.
In 1963, “various studies were done to explore the effectiveness of different herbicides. They were all field trials. These studies were done by personnel from the U.S. Army Biological Laboratories,” states one entry. It lists the agents as “Tordon, 2,4-D, Orange, diquat, endothal and combinations of each with Tordon.”
In 1963, “Herbicide Orange” and other herbicides, as well as combinations of them, were sprayed on 108 trees, the report states. Testing was done at Fort Ritchie and Fort Meade, where the property was large enough to spray trees or small plots in areas that were isolated and restricted from the public, the report states.

Because terrain at Fort Ritchie and Fort Meade often was rough, officials used a 3-gallon tank sprayer with a 20-foot hose and a 9-foot stainless steel wand that had a 20-inch boom and three No. 2 Whirljet nozzles. The herbicides were sprayed downward from a large tank truck, at 30 pounds of pressure, to simulate aerial spraying, the report states.

The 2006 report also refers to 577 chemicals being screened at Fort Ritchie from April 1956 to September 1957.

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