The Army released a final Archive Search Report of the outdoor testing of herbicides at Fort Detrick during the 1940's through 1960's. "It was designed to address public concerns," said Lanessa Hill, Detrick spokeswoman. "Some of the concerns from the public was that there was a mass amount. But what we found was a little over 21 pounds of related herbicides during field testing between 1944 and 1968," continued Hill.
The final ASR expands on the preliminary ASR released in February 2011. The preliminary report was designed to provide a quick response to community member's questions and relied on a number of easily obtainable, published reports located in the archives.
The final ASR includes analysis of all related material at the various elements of the National Archives and Records Administration, including the Federal Record Centers, and 306 handwritten notebooks that recorded herbicide investigations and tests conducted from 1944 through 1969. The ASR is an in-depth effort, completed over 18 months, to identify and review all available documents and historical aerial imagery related to field tests at the installation.
Key findings of the report were presented to the Fort Detrick Restoration Advisory Board Wednesday, April 18.
According to Randal Curtis, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - St. Louis District, who compiled the report, herbicides generally were applied with hand sprayers, and using portable shelters to prevent overspray of chemicals from one plot to the next, which would have invalidated the tests.
"There is no indication aerial spraying of herbicides was conducted at Fort Detrick, which is supported by the installation not having the space, or quantities and type of vegetation required for large-scale dissemination tests of these herbicides," Curtis said.
Based on the information reviewed, the ASR estimates the amount of 2,4,5-T, one of the main components of Agent Orange, used during documented field tests on the installation between 1944 and 1968 was approximately 9,879 grams or 21.7 pounds. Based on a 1971 U.S. Department of Agriculture report "Restricting the Use of 2,4,5-T: Costs to Domestic Users", the annual average farm use of 2, 4, 5-T in 1969 was 48 pounds per 100-acre farm.
"This is good news for Fort Detrick, but not so good for those citizens who complained," said Hill. "We knew that research was being done here. There was no aerial applications, which was one of the concerns, that we heard from the public," said Hill. "Any one who wants to talk to us can call us."
"As a transparent ongoing restoration effort, our next step is to initiate a contracting action to comprehensively sample for the dioxins and herbicides of concern, and we will share the information with the community." said Col. Allan Darden, commander U.S. Garrison Fort Detrick. "We are committed to continuing our restoration efforts by doing everything we can to learn from our past and use it to better our future."
The Archive Search Report is located at http://www.detrick.army.mil/responsible/ .