There are many, many anecdotal reports of Agent Orange in Panama and the Panama Canal Zone during the 1960s and 1970s, including from veterans who were there and say they handled the herbicidal agents. To date, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have not acknowledged herbicide use in the Panama Canal Zone at any point.
But cases of veterans who had appealed their denied claims to the Board of Veterans Appeals have brought additional sources to light, such as:
An August 20, 1999 article by the Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, “U.S. military tested Agent Orange in Panama, accounts say,” detailed that the Government of Panama was seeking $500 million from the U.S. military in damages and cleanup costs related to “thousands of acres of rangeland used for weapons and ammunition tests since World War II.’’
In that same article, a spokesman for the Southern Command states, “Our bottom line on our side is that we have no knowledge that it happened. We have no evidence that Agent Orange was actually sprayed in Panama.”
- An August 24, 1999 article in the Dallas Morning News, “Agent Orange May Have Been Used On Bases,” has an officer source stating that there were “hundreds of barrels” of Agent Orange that were unaccounted for in Panama.
However, in three cases before the Board of Veterans Appeals that we were able to locate, no appeal for exposure to Agent Orange in Panama has so far been successful.