Saturday, January 4, 2014

EDITORIAL: Maine veterans owed study on use of chemicals at Canadian base

The U.S. government has denied that the herbicides sprayed at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown sickened Jandreau or his fellow veterans. But the federal study’s conclusions are based solely on a review of previous research. Maine’s two senators are calling for an independent study in a bill that could open the door to a more comprehensive review and answer questions that have lingered for far too long.

The Canadian and U.S. governments have rejected most disability claims filed by Gagetown veterans, other than those who served in 1966 or 1967, when Agent Orange was tested at the Canadian base. But 3 million pounds of herbicides and defoliants — some chemically similar to Agent Orange — were used at Gagetown over a 30-year period, according to military documents obtained by Canadian veterans through Freedom of Information requests. Given this history, it’s reasonable to theorize that exposure to toxins far exceeded what officials are willing to acknowledge.

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