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Last Updated: Friday, 24 June, 2005, 03:49 GMT 04:49 UK
Canada reviews Agent Orange cases
By Lee Carter
BBC News, Toronto

Tran Anh Kiet, Vietnamese disabled boy
Agent Orange allegedly caused many deformities in Vietnam
Several hundred Canadian veterans and civilians who say they were exposed to Agent Orange in the 1960s have vented their anger at a public meeting.

The Canadian defence department admits the US military sprayed Agent Orange over a Canadian forces base in New Brunswick in the mid-1960s.

But the Canadian government says the testing was on a small scale and unlikely to harm local civilians.

Now the government says it is starting the process for compensation claims.

Canadian government officials had come to the Gagetown military base in the eastern province of New Brunswick to listen to the concerns of veterans and the local community.

But they found themselves the target of pent-up anger over the spraying programme that had clearly built up over several decades.

One man at the meeting said that people who were in the area at the time changed colour because of the spraying.

"We didn't know what it was, we weren't told what it was, it won't hurt you," he said.

"Now we find out this stuff here is killing us. No wonder all my buddies are all dead."

Speaker after speaker berated the officials with their stories about health problems they associate with the dioxin and the defoliants including cancer, premature death, ulcers and lung disease.

The US military tested Agent Orange, Agent Purple and other defoliants at the 500-acre base in 1966 and 1967.

But several speaker at the public hearings claimed that equally damaging defoliants had been sprayed there as early as the 1950s and as late as the 1970s.

Canadian government officials have promised they will conduct tests on the base this summer to detect levels of dioxin.


SEE ALSO:
Vietnam's war against Agent Orange
14 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Agent Orange victims 'need help'
06 Mar 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Agent Orange hotspots located
30 Dec 01 |  Science/Nature
New study into Agent Orange
10 Mar 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Vietnam 1945 to 1975: timeline
16 Nov 00 |  Asia-Pacific


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