What Quantities of Insecticides were used at Nui Dat?
On 15 October 1968, a Supply and Transport staff officer on HQ 1ATF, wrote to the Deputy Assistant Director of Supply and Transportion HQ AFV, informing him of the results of a survey of certain expense supplies that were demanded by units at Nui Dat over a three-month period. The quantities of insecticides being consumed at Nui Dat were
included in the survey and they are presented in the following table.
Dieldrin – 600 gallons – Extremely Toxic
Chlordane – 520 gallons – Extremely Toxic
Lindane Powder – 216 two ounce cans – Extremely Toxic
Diazinon Liquid – 600 gallons – Very Toxic
Diazinon Powder – 300 pounds – Very Toxic
DDT – 222 gallons – Moderately Toxic
Malathion – 520 gallons – Slightly Toxic
The supply officer who completed the survey recommended that these usage rates be adopted to establish the working stock levels for supply units at Nui Dat.
These are alarming quantities. In a three-month period in 1968, 1,120 gallons of ‘extremely toxic’ Dieldrin and Chlordane alone had been dispersed at Nui Dat. Remember that both of these chemicals were among the world’s twelve most dangerous chemicals that were
banned internationally in 2001.
It should be remembered that while the Australians were dispersing these quantities of insecticides at Nui Dat from ground-based equipment, US fixed-wing aircraft were also aerially spraying the base with either Malathion, or, perhaps, DDT, each fortnight.
The quantities of insecticides being used in 1968 were not an aberration. Other Australian supply documents from Vietnam show that in mid-1970 there were 285 gallons of Dieldrin in stock with afurther 300 gallons on order, 35 gallons of Chlordane with a further 100 gallons due in, 100 gallons of Lindane Liquid with 300 gallons due in, and so on with similar amounts for the other Residual Insecticides.