Thursday, July 05, 2007



Agent Orange, name given to the most effective chemical herbicide, or plant killer, sprayed by United States armed forces in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War (1959-1975). It was created from an equal combination of 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. It was called Agent Orange because of the color of the barrel in which it was shipped. Agent Orange contained extremely toxic byproducts known as dioxins. Exposure to dioxins has been associated with severe birth defects and certain rare cancers in humans.

More than 19 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed in South Vietnam between 1961 and 1970. About 12 percent of South Vietnam was stripped of foliage, and tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and innumerable Vietnamese were exposed to dioxins. Toxins that leaked into croplands and rivers around the sprayed areas also had long-term effects on the food supply of the country as a whole.

Around 3 million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange, many of whom died while many others learned of the consequences only once they had children.

Most of these victims are living in difficulties with serious illnesses. Many families have four or five disabled children. Much worse, there are families in which all the children were born with deformities. These children are suffering from polio and mental retardation (27 percent); visual and hearing impairment (27 percent), immobility (19 percent) and other deformities. The number of disabled children who cannot take care of themselves accounts for 40.8 percent of the total.

Beautiful, heartbreaking site. Thank you so much for doing this. I'm currently writing a novel; the main character is an American veteran of Vietnam who lost his legs and was sprayed with Agent Orange. Keep up the great work
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