Canada Used Agent Orange Extensively
February 22nd, 2011 | Blog, Stories & News, Agent Orange, birch, Canada, Cancer, dioxins, forestry, New York Times, Ontario, paper, petition, spruce, trees
They managed to kill several people and give cancer to many others in the process. It’s all just coming out now….Please read the full article here. More links to articles below. Please get involved by helping to get the petition (below) signed.
Star Exclusive: Agent Orange “soaked” Ontario teens
Diana Zlomislic Staff Reporter
Records from the 1950s, 60s and 70s show forestry workers, often students and junior rangers, spent weeks at a time as human markers holding red, helium-filled balloons on fishing lines while low-flying planes sprayed toxic herbicides including an infamous chemical mixture known as Agent Orange on the brush and the boys below.
A Star investigation examined hundreds of boxes of forestry documents and found the provincial government began experimenting with a powerful hormone-based chemical called 2,4,5-T — the dioxin-laced component of Agent Orange — in Hearst, Ont., in 1957.
The documents, filed at the Archives of Ontario, describe how WWII-era Stearman biplanes were kitted with 140-gallon tanks containing the chemicals, which were usually diluted in a mix of fuel oil and water.
Less than 10 years later, the Department of Lands and Forests (now the Ministry of Natural Resources) authorized the use of a more potent mixture of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T for aerial spraying. The combination of those two herbicides in equal parts comprised Agent Orange — the most widely used chemical in the Vietnam War.
Over the years, spraying was done by both the province and timber companies.
Medical studies have determined the type of dioxin found in Agent Orange latches on to fat cells and can remain in the body for decades. Exposure may lead to skin disorders, liver problems, certain types of cancers and impaired immune, endocrine and reproductive functions.
Agent Orange was one of a rainbow of poisonous warfare chemicals that got its name from a band of colour painted on the barrels it was shipped in. The mixture itself was colourless.
The chemicals targeted what forestry reports described as “weed trees” — including birch, maple, poplar and shrubs — which stole sunlight and soil nutrients from young, profitable spruce species. The hormones in the defoliants caused the broad leaves on these weed trees to grow so quickly they starved to death.
In 1956, with the government’s blessing, Spruce Falls Power and Paper Company in Kapuskasing pioneered the aerial spraying of herbicides in Northern Ontario. The New York Times, which co-owned Spruce Falls with Kimberly-Clark and the Washington Star, printed its Sunday edition on black spruce, renowned for its tough fibres. (Tembec, a company that purchased Spruce Falls in 1991, did not respond to interview requests).
Aerial spraying programs were considered a cheap, fast and effective way to alter the landscape of Ontario’s forests for maximum profit. Timber companies and the government worked together to increase the output of money-making trees like white and black spruce while culling nearly everything else that got in their way.
In the mid-1960s, Spruce Falls held about 4 million acres of forest land under lease from the Ontario government and owned an additional 180,000 acres. The incomplete documents don’t provide a total number of acres sprayed.
The government records list the names of five supervisors who worked on spraying programs in Northern Ontario during the 1950s and 1960s. Four of the five have either been diagnosed with or died of cancer. Their job included mixing chemicals and standing in the fields supervising spray campaigns. Teenaged workers are also listed in the records and the Star is working to track them down.
One of them on the list, David Buchanan always wondered what was inside the 45-gallon oil drums he worked with as a 15-year-old at Spruce Falls Power and Paper Company in 1964.
“Even then, it didn’t seem right,” said Buchanan, now a 61-year-old dentist in Sackville, N.S., who has suffered from a series of illnesses doctors couldn’t diagnose. Body-covering hives. Persistent bouts of dizziness. A sperm count so low he couldn’t have children.
His job as a summer student was to hand-pump vats of brush-and-tree-killing chemicals into the airplane sprayer.
“It did a good job — what we wanted it to do,” said Clifford Emblin, a former government forestry manager who oversaw chemical spraying programs. “They were using those chemicals in Vietnam, too, for defoliation. Yeah, it was the same stuff. I don’t think anybody knew about the long-term effects.” Read More
We Need Your Involvement!
Please sign and promote this petition for Public Inquiry concerning Chemical Exposure at CFB Gagetown:
There are online petitions for many things, our cause included, BUT online petitions cannot be presented in the House of Commons because they do not have ‘written signatures’, therefore online petitions result in no formal response. We desire a formal response from the Government on this topic.
This call for your assistance is to allow us to obtain legal written signatures on ‘approved petition sheets’ which will then be presented to the Government via the House of Commons. Click here to obtain petition sheets.
More information can be found at the Agent Orange Association of Canada’s Website.
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