Residents Want Dioxin Cleaned Up

Residents living near the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport want the Air Force to conduct more testing for Agent Orange. From 1968 to 1977, the Air Force stored more than 15-thousand drums of the herbicide on the Seabee base. Some of the drums leaked over time, contaminating surrounding areas with dioxin, a toxic substance associated with Agent Orange.

Residents, who attended a public meeting yesterday in Gulfport, said they were concerned that all contaminated locations had not been tested for dioxin. Susanne Davis, who grew up near the base, says the entire area needs to be tested. She says an unusual number of people in the neighborhood where she grew up in have died of cancer.

Cleanup manager Bob Fisher says dioxin binds to soil and is dangerous only if ingested or inhaled. Fisher says in the highest contaminated areas surrounding the base, a person would have to consume a significant amount of dioxin every day for many years to develop cancer.