Agent Orange was a toxic herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam war from 1961 to 1971. The U.S. operation codenamed “Operation Ranch Hand” sprayed more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and several other toxic herbicides over Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. These deadly herbicides destroyed and infected more than 4.5 million acres of Vietnamese land, forests, water sources, and food crops, which were the main source of food for combatants and millions of Vietnamese. Over 400,000 people died as a result of exposure to these toxic chemicals and starvation. In addition, half a million children have been born with serious congenital disabilities, and over two million people are suffering from cancer and other illness caused by Agent Orange.
Agent Orange and its harmful effects
During Operation Ranch Hand, U.S. military used Agent Orange, which was available in slightly different mixtures, sometimes referred to as Agent Orange I, Agent Orange II, Agent Orange III and “Super Orange.” The Agent Orange was manufactured with harmful ingredients, which caused plants to lose their leaves. The Dioxin in Agent Orange lasts many years in the environment and food chain. And it accumulates in fatty tissues in the bodies of animals, birds and fishes that humans eat. It can cause severe skin disease known as chloracne. Additionally, dioxin is linked to immune system dysfunction, never disorder, and heart diseases. Developing fetuses are particularly sensitive to dioxin, which is also linked to miscarriages, spina bifida and other problems with fetal brain and nervous system development.
In addition to Agent Orange, the U.S. military also used other harmful herbicides named Agent Green, Agent Pink, Agent Purple Agent Blue and Agent White. All of them had long-lasting effects on the environment.
Effects of Agent Orange on U.S. veteran’s health
The Agent Orange also effected the returning U.S military servicemen and their families. Several diseases were reported, including rashes congenital disabilities in children, cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, leukoma and other psychological symptoms. Chemical companies that manufactured these herbicides paid $240 million in compensation to the veterans and their families. In 2004, Vietnam filed a lawsuit against these chemical companies, but their case was dismissed after a year. In 2008 the U.S. supreme court also rejected their final appeal causing outrage among Vietnamese victims. The U.S. government refused to compensate Vietnamese victims of chemical warfare.
People are still suffering from the effects of Agent Orange even after 50 years of the Vietnam war. Here below are some of the photos of the victims of Agent Orange.