Probe begins into Canadian dioxin

Aug. 20, 2005 at 1:16 PM

GAGETOWN, New Brunswick, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- A former New Brunswick environment minister appointed to report on dioxin problems at a Canadian military base visited the area this week.

Vaughn Blaney watched as an electronic scanner was used to check for buried barrels of dioxin in a remote part of the large Gagetown Base in New Brunswick, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported. Several objects were discovered in the area where veterans remember barrels of dioxin being buried, but they cannot be positively identified without additional testing.

The U.S. military tested Agent Orange, the defoliant used in Vietnam, on a small area of the base in the 1960, and the Canadian military used dioxin-containing defoliants in smaller quantities to clear foliage. The practice was common at Canadian military bases, and dioxin was even used by Parks Canada.

Veterans Affairs Canada has awarded four pensions for disabilities connected to Agent Orange testing at Gagetown. The agency has mailed out 700 applications.

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