Today, Congressman Mike Michaud, Ranking Member of the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Health, introduced a bill to help Maine veterans concerned about Agent Orange and herbicide exposure at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not have comprehensive data on the veterans who applied for compensation based on their exposure at CFB Gagetown. The bill Michaud introduced today would create a CFB Gagetown Registry, which would require the VA to maintain a special record that tracks individuals who were possibly exposed to toxins through their military service.
"It's extremely frustrating that the VA doesn't track these concerns," said Michaud. "Creating this registry would require the VA to officially track these veterans and their concerns about exposure at Gagetown. I'm hopeful this registry will help these veterans finally get the attention and care they deserve."
For years many members of the Maine, Massachussettes, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island National Guard and Reserves trained at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown. In 2007 the Canadian government admitted that Agent Orange, Agent Purple and other unregistered herbicides were tested at CFB Gagetown and began paying settlements to Canadian veterans.
While U.S. veterans trained at CFB Gagetown after the testing period, a number of them still have concerns that they were exposed to toxic levels of both registered and unregistered herbicides. The CDC recently announced that they would examine the possible toxin exposure, but the VA has not yet worked with these veterans to address their concerns or keep a record of their claims.
Chellie Pingree, John Olver (MA-01), Stephen Lynch (MA-09) and Peter Welch (VT-At Large) are original cosponsors of the bill Michaud introduced today.