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Pollutants found at US base in S Korea: Officials

Traces of toxic chemicals have been found at a US military camp but there is no evidence yet to support claims that Agent Orange was buried there in 1978, South Korean and American investigators said.



Seoul: Traces of toxic chemicals have been
found at a US military camp but there is no evidence yet to
support claims that Agent Orange was buried there in 1978,
South Korean and American investigators said on Friday.

Dangerous levels of trichloroethylene and
tetrachloroethylene were detected in underground waters at
Camp Caroll near the southeastern city of Daegu, the joint
team said in a statement.

Trichloroethylene is commonly used as an industrial
solvent and tetrachloroethylene is used for dry cleaning of
fabrics.

The team has been investigating allegations that large
amounts of Agent Orange were dumped and buried at the US
logistics base in 1978.

"These pollutants are not associated with Agent Orange.
There is no clear indication of where these pollutants
originated," the statement said.

The investigators also said they had begun collecting
earth samples from 43 different sites at the base, including
one where a US veteran said 250 barrels containing the toxic
defoliant were buried.

The team`s findings will be made public near the end of
August, they said.

Following the US veterans` claim made on American
television, the US military in Korea said in May that a "large
number" of drums containing pesticides, herbicides and
solvents were buried there in 1978.

But it said there was no specific information that Agent
Orange was in the containers. It said the materials along with
40-60 tonnes of soil were removed from the site in 1979-1980
and disposed of elsewhere.

The US has based tens of thousands of service personnel in
the South since the 1950-1953 Korean War, with 28,500 troops
currently stationed in the country.

During the Vietnam War US aircraft sprayed Agent Orange
and other herbicides containing potentially cancer-causing
dioxin to strip trees of foliage, in a bid to deprive
communist forces of cover and food.

PTI

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