Agent Orange

Thesis: The Vietnam War not only affected the United States but also affected the rest of the world.

Various of chemicals were used in Vietnam. The various chemicals were labeled by color-coded stripes on the barrels. These chemicals were known by the colors of the rainbow (1).

Agent Orange: 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T; used between January 1965 and April 1970.
– Agent Orange II (Super Orange): 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T; used in 1968 and 1969.
– Agent Purple: 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T; used between January 1962 and 1964.
– Agent Pink: 2,4,5-T; used between 1962 and 1964.
– Agent Green: 2,4,5-T; used between 1962 and 1964.
– Agent White: Picloram and 2,4-D. Agent White was the second most used chemical in Vietnam
– Agent Blue: contained cacodylic acid (arsenic).

Agent Orange was one of the weed-killing chemicals used by the U.S. in Vietnam.  It is extremely toxic, and caused massive amounts of destruction (1).  This chemical was used as part of Operation Ranch Hand.  Air planes,  helicopters, trucks and backpack sprayers applied this chemical (1). The reason the U.S. wanted to do this was  to make it diffucult for peasants to support themselves, therfore forcing them to flee to other cities, which would make it difficult for the Vietnamese guerillas to keep their support base and food supply. The destruction of land also made it more difficult for Vietnamese troops to hide. Re-examining military records, researchers at the Columbia University School of Public Health determined that about 21 million gallons of the herbicides were sprayed from 1961 to 1971 (1).  Those involved in the Vietnam War, including Australian troops, were exposed to twice the amount of dioxin in Agent Orange than previously thought. Some say that it is the toxic chemical discovered so far (2).

The makers of these chemicals were well aware of their long-term toxic effects, but suppressed the information from the government and the public, fearing negative backlash (2). The chemical compounds considered as herbicide agents in Vietnam include 2,4-D; 2,4,5-T and its contaminant of Dioxin, cacodylic acid and picloram (1). Because of the containment of dioxin in agent orange, publicly, the chemical companies said dioxin occurred naturally in the environment and was not harmful to humans (2), but they were very wrong.

Video about Agent Orange: (3)


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