Dr. Len Ritter : Ontario Independent Fact-Finding Panel on 2,4,5-T – Message from the Chair

Message from the Chair

Oct 27/2011

Welcome to the Ontario Independent Fact-Finding Panel on 2,4,5-T. I am very pleased to introduce the members of the Panel: Dr. Jack Bend, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Western Ontario; Dr. Aaron Blair, Scientist Emeritus at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health; Elliot Sigal, Executive Vice President and Senior Scientist at Intrinsik Environmental Sciences, Inc., and Dr. Jeanne Stellman, Professor Emerita and Special Lecturer at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. I will serve as Chair of the Panel in addition to my responsibilities as Professor Emeritus of Toxicology in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph.

The Panel has been asked to examine the scope, scale, timeframe and geographic regions of the use of 2,4,5-T by Ontario government ministries and agencies throughout Ontario. The Panel will also review how 2,4,5-T was prepared, applied and stored and will assess whether exposure to 2,4,5-T herbicide in the affected areas may have potential health impacts.

To carry out its mandate and respond to the specific issues raised by Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey, the Panel will be reviewing use records collected from every Ontario government ministry and agency. Recognizing that 2,4,5-T was often used in combination with other herbicides, the Panel may also find it necessary to review information on other chemicals that may have been used in combination with 2,4,5-T.

The Panel members will meet as a group several times over the next year, as well as work independently, in order to address and respond to the important questions and issues raised by the Government of Ontario. The Panel expects to release its report and findings in both official languages to the general public and to the Minister of Natural Resources in the summer of 2012.

The term "Agent Orange" often appears in conversation in reference to 2,4,5-T. Agent Orange was a 50/50 mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D utilized by the United States military during the Vietnam era. The term "Agent Orange" was first coined by the United States military and is derived from the orange stripe that was used to identify the drums containing this mixture. The reference to Agent Orange has appeared several times in regards to the work of the Panel. The Panel's mandate relates to an assessment of the use of 2,4,5-T, and other chemicals that may have been used in combination with 2,4,5-T, by Ontario government ministries and agencies; the term "Agent Orange" does not have any practical meaning in the context of the Panel's work.

It is important for the general public to be aware that the Panel is conducting its assessment on a population level – not an individual level. As such, although the Panel will accept submissions from individuals, it is expected that the information collected from the population-level assessments will include the range of individual experiences.

It is important to note that the Panel will not be responding to individual submissions and that personal information, such as medical records, should not be submitted to the Panel.

For more information on how to contact the Panel, please visit the Contact Us page.

Leonard Ritter, PhD, Fellow, Academy of Toxicological Sciences
Chair, Ontario Independent Fact Finding Panel on 2,4,5-T
Professor Emeritus, School of Environmental Sciences
University of Guelph

via Ontario Independent Fact-Finding Panel on 2,4,5-T – Message from the Chair.