OROMOCTO, New Brunswick — New reports from the herbicide use fact-finding initiative were released at a press conference held on August 10. These latest results look at the current health risk on the base and at historical health risk.
Task 3A-2 focused on health risks associated with CFB Gagetown's range and training area's present-day physical environment. The assessment, conducted by Ontario-based Dillon Consulting Ltd. and U.S.-based RBR Consulting, used the results of the soil sampling report from earlier this summer to conduct a health risk assessment. This included the small areas where, as a precautionary measure, access was restricted earlier this year by base commander Colonel Ryan Jestin.
"I have always maintained my belief that CFB Gagetown is safe, but with an issue like this you cannot rely on belief - you need science. Factual confirmation that the training area poses no health risk tells me that we are headed in the right direction in terms of environmental stewardship, and allows me to focus my attention on my number one priority: training Canadian soldiers," stated Col Jestin.
Task 3A-1 (Tier 1) was conducted by Cantox Environmental Inc. The purpose of the task was to review the historical health risk based on the 1966 and 1967 U.S. military testing, and to determine the types of herbicide exposure personnel in the training area may have experienced.
Task 3A-1 was a complex task requiring careful scientific analysis. In order to deliver the results as soon as possible, the work was divided into three tiers.
PIC2RTier 1 focused on the contaminants in the test chemicals used by the U.S. military in 1966 and 1967. Due to be completed soon, Tiers 2 focuses on contaminants in herbicides that were used at CFB Gagetown from 1952 to the present day. Tier 3 focuses on the active ingredients in those herbicides. The reports from Tiers 2 and 3 will provide an assessment of any potential effects on human health. These reports will be complete later this fall and early next winter, respectively.
The fact-finding work on herbicide use at CFB Gagetown will continue to gather information in a timely and transparent manner.
For now, knowing that CFB Gagetown is safe is good news. CFB Gagetown will continue to employ the range and training area to its full capability to accomplish the mandate of providing world-class training to soldiers as they prepare for dangerous operations both at home and abroad.
For more information on the herbicide use fact-finding initiative, please call the following number: (506) 357-8200.
Article by Second Lieutenant Aaron Scherle
Photos by Private Mélanie Ferguson and courtesy of Wikipedia and Nufarm Canada