Repercussions of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War
Our modern society and technology revolves around many different chemical compounds. Advances in the chemical field of herbicides or pesticides, while being beneficial to our society, can come at a price. Without proper testing and research, harmful chemical compounds may be released into the environment unknowingly. Some compounds, even though thoroughly tested, may only exhibit malicious effects years after being introduced to the environment. Such a case would be the story of Agent Orange. Agent Orange was an herbicide used in the Vietnam War by South Vietnam and the United States to try to get rid of the jungle in which the Vietcong used as cover. Unfortunately, the herbicide contained an extremely dangerous and potent compound 2,3,7,8, - tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), or commonly referred to as just dioxin (Herbicides). TCDD has caused many ill effects in people who have been exposed to it, and it was not only until years after the widespread use in the war that it was discovered to be exceedingly dangerous.
The chemical defoliant Agent Orange, along with other defoliants, was produced and sold to the military by various companies such as DOW Chemical Company (Agent Orange). The United States and South Vietnamese began using different defoliants in the Vietnam War during the autumn of 1962 (Herbicides). The use began with the US Air Force's Operation Ranch Hand, whose main goal was to distribute chemical weapons and defoliants over the North Vietnamese (Herbicides). Though the chemical was not fully understood or tested extensively over a long time period, the war effort was in desperation for some way to get an upper hand in the war and Agent Orange provided that upper hand.
The defoliant was sprayed from just about anything that could move, including planes, helicopters, trucks, boats, and even soldiers (Herbicides). Usually enemy food supplies, villages, and camps were targeted with the...
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