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Agent Orange: Actions Needed to Improve Accuracy and Communication of Information on Testing and Storage Locations


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The tactical herbicide Agent Orange was first produced in 1964, and some 12 million gallons were shipped from U.S. ports to Southeast Asia from 1965 to 1970. DOD suspended its use in 1970 and incinerated remaining stockpiles at sea in 1977. Congress has expressed long-standing interest in the effects of Agent Orange exposure. The House report accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 included a provision that GAO review the governments handling of Agent Orange on Guam. This report examines (1) information the federal government has about the procurement, distribution, use, and disposition of Agent Orange; (2) DOD and VA efforts to make information about where Agent Orange and its components were tested and stored available; and (3) challenges associated with Agent Orange testing. GAO reviewed agency policies, documents, and available archival records that GAO identified; interviewed DOD, VA, and other agency officials; and met with a nongeneralizable sample of 38 veterans and a veterans service organization. GAO is making six recommendations, including that DOD develop a process for updating its list of Agent Orange testing and storage locations, and that DOD and VA develop a process for coordinating the communication of information on where Agent Orange was known to have been present. DOD concurred with four recommendations. VA concurred with one recommendation and non-concurred with one recommendation.



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