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Western Oregon Site of Early Agent Orange Tests!Wes Carter for Salem-News.com
A disturbing document summarizes world-wide US military use and storage of the wartime defoliant, infamous for its lingering toxic impact.
(SALEM) - Department of Defense documents recently released detail testings conducted by the Air Force in Eastern Oregon, under the management of Oregon State University. On pages 65-66 of the "The History of the US Department of Defense Programs for the Testing, Evaluation, and Storage of Tactical Herbicides" was a review of the 1973-1974 testing which covered over 300 acres with five drums of concentrate Agent Orange, diluted with kerosene for effective spraying.
The disturbing document was a summary of world-wide US military use and storage of the wartime defoliant, infamous for its lingering toxic impact.
It was generated by contract with Batelle Columbus, which subcontracted for actual research and writing to Dr. Al Young. Young is a retired Air Force colonel with a PhD in Agriculture. He directed much of the post-Vietnam denial posture adopted by both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.
At various times he seems to also have served as Senior Consultant to the Office of Secretary of Defense, and he continues writing projects about Agent Orange ordered by VA under a long-term contract. In 2010 he happens to had a role in directing that obsolete, desert-stored C-123 transports all be destroyed as toxic waste. He also insists the former Agent Orange spray aircraft were somehow safe.
The OSU effort was led by Professor M. Newton, now Professor Emeritus. Although he later suggested that his research shouldn't be used relative to exposure claims by C-123 veterans, In 2011 Professor Newton wrote to a military-oriented publication and offered his startling opinion that inhalation of dioxin by veterans is not a concern, surface contact with contaminated surfaces is not a concern, and assured readers that only individuals who've actually handled Agent Orange and dioxin might have been in enough contact for the toxin to be harmful. No mention was made in his opinion that he'd been involved himself in spraying military Agent Orange. Neither was mention made that his work on Agent Orange was decades old.
Clearly, the OSU personnel involved in the testing should consider the effects of their dioxin exposure, and the industrial concerns which offered their property for this testing might also investigate. The report will be in the set of data evaluated when the Institute of Medicine, itself under a VA contract, examines the issue of C-123 veterans' exposures aboard their toxic airplanes.
Wes Carter, Major, USAF Retired
Former McMinnville Resident
Chair, The C-123 Veterans Association
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