Blog #5 IG Blog Gatun Lake Weed Problem

Alvin Young continues…

In Allegation 3. “The excess drums of Agent Orange remaining after tests and evaluations were completed, were left behind and used “casually” around various military installations in Panama for the control of weeds and shrubs.”

Our findings: we did see spraying of chemicals each and every day in the Canal Zone, in the ditch banks along the roads by truck, by helicopter and small plane, and inside the bases by men with backpack spray equipment. We do know that 2,4-D & 2,4,5-T was shipped/stored and used in the Canal Zone.

Many have reported seeing barrels with orange stripes in the pesticide inventory. Some veterans handled the pesticides, like Bob Terry, who gave an interview to these facts.

We have pictures of Agent Orange barrels being used “casually around various military installations in Panama,” not to control weeds, but as fencing material long after we gave the Canal back to keep people out of the quarters at old Fort Sherman, Canal Zone in Spring of 2020.  

Leftovers found in Spring 2020

These barrels were left behind, remaining there apparently after the tests in 1968, or as Mr. Charles Bartlett claimed, it was always sent to Panama. As we also see on the FT410. The only difference was most barrels arrived in Panama without the orange stripe.

So how did these AO barrels get there? By ship of course! Who sent them? The United States Commerce Department.

Many have reported seeing barrels being used for other purposes, such as BBQ’s.

In Allegation 4. “US troops stationed in various locations in Panama observed the spraying of Agent Orange by aircraft, and many were involved in ground spraying of the herbicide in both military and civilian areas.”

Many of us saw spraying by aircraft, helicopter, truck, boat and backpack sprayers, almost every day, every base. They sprayed around our quarters and lawns with backpack sprayers. They sprayed the side of the roads with the truck mounted sprayers. We saw spray by helicopters and small aircraft. The only thing we didn’t know at the time is WHAT they were spraying. We assumed the U.S. Government would not spray anything that would cause us harm. 

This is a picture of when the DDT trucks would go through our neighborhoods daily spraying for mosquitoes is what we thought. We knew the timing and could cover our fish tanks, but we did not have windows we could shut to protect us from the spray.

Daily spraying of the CZ

Here is an article about the use of arsenic and 2,4-D used in Gatun Lake to kill the Hydrilla. Arsenic and 2,4-D are known carcinogenics, and were used continuously from day one. 2,4-D replaced Arsenic, thinking that 2,4-D wasn’t as bad for us.

2,4-D was first used in Gatun Lake in 1948 and probably still today. Gatun Lake was our drinking water. Doubtful the water was filtered for these chemicals since the CFR said they were not harmful to humans.

And here is a photo of men doing just that in Gatun Lake in 1968. Picture from the Panama Canal Review 1968.  It wasn’t a secret in 1968, why is it a secret to know what these herbicides being used in our drinking water were today?

Picutre from the Panama Review Publication in 1968

We know the same item aka “agent orange” was shipped/stored and used in the Canal Zone. Here is an interview with Panama Veteran Bob Terry who transported these chemicals and followed the sprayers to reload as needed.

Interview with Veteran Bob Terry who transported and filled the sprayers’ tanks