Open and URGENT Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper re: Agent Orange investigation into use at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

During my recent trip to Vietnam for the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange and my subsequent guided tour of Vietnam’s children’s survivors clinics and help centers provided by, “The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (vava),” as well as many of the sites still very contaminated, we were accompanied by the country’s top dioxin specialist and chemist. He was very forthcoming and was more than happy and without any reservations answered all of our questions.
One of the topics which I brought up was depth where dioxin can be found. According to their expert chemists, who have been studying the dioxin question for decades, dioxin can and is found to a depth of more than two meters in sandy loam soils and to a depth of over one meter in clay. We were further told that the highest concentrations of dioxin were found at a depth of 40 to 60 centimetres in sandy loam soil and 20 to 30 centimeters in clay. This would seem to indicate that the Base Gagetown and Area Fact Finding Project (BGAFFP) and its soil samplings taken at a depth of  0 to 10 centimeters would not have returned true or accurate results for dioxin contamination.
Gagetown’s defoliation program started six years before the Vietnam war and finished long after. As a result, the chemicals have had even more time to wander vertically and, in other cases like the Murphy Bivouac, horizontally. This would, in my opinion, render all results as to dioxin content still remaining given by the BGAFFP as false, misleading and potentially dangerous to Canadian Military still training in these contaminated areas.
We further were informed that only the top two centimeters of soil had a half-life of four to six years and that anything past that depth had a half-life of 80 years or more and in some locations they do not expect the soils to return to normal for more than 100,000 years, unless the soil is manually removed and decontaminated. I can also assure you that dioxin does not evaporate in an hour or in sunlight as we were told by the industry because in De Nang and Bien Hoa Airport,s it is still laying on top of the ground just as deadly as it did 30 years ago.
I am writing this in the hopes that this was just an oversight or lack of knowledge on the part of the Government of Canada and that the BGAFFP was not in fact (as many suspect) an attempt to cover-up the Gagetown Agent Orange (Rainbow Chemicals) issue with misleading, incomplete and inaccurate results. I believe that this new information will and should necessitate a further investigation as well as a proper and more accurate testing of the soil to the proper depths in CFB Gagetown.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kenneth H. Young CD

PS: I was asked by Vietnamese officials why Canada wasn’t doing any research into TCDD Dioxin, HCB and its effects on the Canadian soldiers (survivors of CFB Gagetown). I am sorry to say that I had no answer for them because frankly I have the same question.Canadian Veterans Advocacy
Agent Orange Association of Canada!/group.php?gid=100306030029293!/pages/VETS-Canada/184476398256008 


About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
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