Agent Orange Essay

1610 words - 7 pages

If you were to ask the seven million Vietnamese that were exposed to Agent Orange about their feelings about the war, what would they say? “I have no future, no happiness,” said Do Duc Diu. He went on to say that he lost eleven of his children to this deadly toxin (Agent Orange Record). Nineteen million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed across South Vietnam leading to the death of more than 400,000 Vietnamese (Orange Innovation). Agent Orange had numerous devastating effects on not only the people intended but also other innocent people not involved with the war.

Agent Orange was created by a group of chemical companies including Dow, Monsanto, Hercules, Northwest Industries, Diamond Shamrock and North American Phillips (Agent Orange Record). These companies created Agent Orange so the U.S. Military could clear the dense jungles, where the Viet Cong where taking refuge (Orange Innovation). Also Agent Orange was sprayed strategically to destroy crops in the Vietnamese villages. When humans are exposed to Agent Orange they are at risk to more than a dozen different cancers and diseases (Vietnam Veterans of America).

Agent Orange was sprayed from the years of 1962 to 1971 by airplanes, boats, helicopter and soldiers with backpacks. They sprayed 3,181 villages, wreaking havoc and devastation to these areas. Not only did the Vietnamese suffer from the after-effects of Agent Orange, but some U.S. soldiers also became sick due to this deadly toxin. In the U.S., people were exposed as well. The employees that were loading the tubs on to the planes and those who also handled the backpacks of it were affected. At the U.S. Army Chemical Corps. The workers were impacted because the barrels were stored on site before they were sent to be put on planes for spraying (Cancer.org)

The chemical known as Agent Orange is considered a defoliant. Defoliants are chemicals that cause the leaves fall off of plants. During the Vietnam War many different types of herbicides were used in an attempt to kill crops and clear vegetation. The main herbicides that were used were a mixture of dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and trichlorophenoxyacetic acid. These mixtures were sent to Vietnam in large metal barrels with an orange stripe across it. This is how the name Agent Orange was created (Cancer.org).

When a study was conducted on the dioxin levels in the blood of Vietnam veterans compared to other troops in different parts of the globe, Vietnam veterans showed higher levels of dioxin. Dioxin happened to be a component of one of the chemicals used in Agent Orange. Dioxin is a very deadly toxin and it is what makes Agent Orange so poisonous. The reason why the U.S. stopped spraying Agent Orange in 1971 was because a lab test on animals showed that one of the chemicals used could cause birth defects in 1970 (Cancer.org).
In 1970 some Vietnamese Health Physicians began testing some Vietnamese who lived n sprayed areas (Cancer.org). In order...

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