Final Archive Search Report gives insight to past herbicide tests conducted at Fort Detrick
May 1, 2012
FREDERICK, Md. - The final Archive Search Report of the outdoor testing of herbicides at Fort Detrick during the 1940's through 1960's, with the important details presented to the Fort Detrick Restoration Advisory Board, April 18.
The final ASR, which 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, provides broader details from the preliminary ASR released in February 2011.
That ASR and was conducted over a nine month period, is the result of an in-depth effort that analyzed available documents and historical aerial imagery related to the Fort Detrick field tests. The preliminary report provided a timely response to community member's questions and relied on a number of easily obtainable, published reports located in the archives.
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.
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.
The report, titled "ASR Findings for Testing of 2,4,5-T and Other Herbicides," 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.
"As a transparent ongoing restoration effort, our next step is to collect soil from the test locations and analyze it for herbicides and dioxins." 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.ar my.mil/responsible/