The Effects Agent Orange Produced On Health

2155 words - 9 pages

“We were told, ‘it’s totally safe and it won’t hurt you at all,” he added. “We were told you can drink it, you can brush your teeth with it, or you can bathe in it. It won’t hurt you. Those were lies.” (“U.S. Soldiers Sprayed Agent Orange across Korea” 1) Agent Orange was an herbicide used by the United States military forces in Vietnam between 1962 and 1971 to destroy their enemies’ food supply, land, and protection. Twelve million gallons of this toxin were sprayed. (Department of Preventive Medicine 1) It affected the Vietnamese and the American troops who were fighting in the same jungle. Little did the United States military know the effects of this dangerous herbicide. It caused many long-term complications, including health problems for the veterans, birth defects, and contaminated grounds. Therefore, it was wrong of the United States to spray such a dangerous herbicide without looking further into the damage that it would leave behind. (National Academies Press)
There were a variety of methods to spray Agent Orange—including by airplanes, helicopters, boats, trucks, and backpack sprayers. From the United States going to the extreme of spraying this deathly toxin; most of the veterans who were distributing the herbicide or being exposed to the toxin would later have health problems. There were different ways the veterans could have been exposed from either mixing, storing, or spraying the toxin. Also, veterans could ingest the toxin a variety of ways, such as, breathing it in, ingesting it, or absorbing it through the skin. Determining the health effects was difficult because it was not known how long the veterans were exposed to the toxin. If the United States would have looked more into the herbicide these health problems would not have happened. To go along with everything else, the veterans also suffered from neurological problems, skin problems, intestinal distress, and cancer. (Christopher)
Veterans with neurological problems experienced blurry vision, memory loss, and acts of anger. (Fred) Some of the patients even had suicidal thoughts. Agent Orange has also been linked to cases of cancer, including cancer of the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. (Veterans and Cancer 1) The veterans may experience such issues immediately after being exposed to the toxin, or some time afterwards. Another factor is the directness of exposure. Those exposed to Agent Orange directly suffered greater skin irritation than those exposed to the herbicide indirectly. In some cases, lesions and tumors developed on the face, neck, arms, and back due to direct exposure to the chemical. The United States should have looked into these health complications before using the toxin.
The United States’ poor choices also led to Heart diseases, which can be linked to the exposure to Agent Orange. One potential effect is high blood pressure, which can lead to strokes or heart attacks. Another problem that may arise is little blood flow to the heart—leading to...

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