Army reportedly sprayed 17 pounds of neurotoxin at Fort Detrick between 1944 and 1968

The United States Army recently announced that it sprayed around 17 pounds of the major Agent Orange ingredient 2,4,5-T, on sections of Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, between 1944 and 1968.

Randal Curtis, a program manager for the St. Louis district of the Army Corps of Engineers, presented the preliminary report to the Fort Detrick Restoration Advisory Board on Wednesday, the Frederick News Post reports. These findings were based on lab notes, photos, technical reports and standard operating procedures found in record and archive locations around the country.

The report states that Fort Detrick was the Army’s headquarters for the Chemical Warfare Service’s special projects division during and after the Second World War. The Agent Orange ingredient 2,4,5-T was tested at the Fort in three time periods - 1944-1951, 1953 and 1961-1963.

During the first time period, the Agent Orange ingredient was tested on the main Army installation in a 62,500 square-foot patch known now as Area A, the Frederick News Post reports. Different crops were grown in small sections and sprayed with hand-held sprayers and moveable barriers. The goal, Curtis said, was not to kill the plants but to keep them from maturing and producing crops that could be eaten.

The middle time period included a truck-mounted sprayer used in a sweet potato and soybean field called Area B and the third period had scant information about spraying the ingredient on 20-by-20-foot plots of weeds and grass.

There is some worry about areas of Area B that were tested, which includes current roads like Shookstown Road and north of Lake Coventry Drive in Frederick. The Army is launching an investigation into the soil of the areas to determine if an environmental cleanup is needed, according to the Frederick News Post.

Public interviews will also be conducted to see if further information about the tests can be ascertained that was not available in the archives.