Agent Orange was used by the United States during the Vietnam War to defoliate Vietnamese forests and destroy potential enemy cover, according to History. It was sprayed widely over enemy territory, including farmland that might yield crops to supply enemy troops. Agent Orange contained dangerous levels of the compound dioxin, now known to be lethal even in small doses.
Not long after the Vietnam War, veterans and their families reported a wide range of health problems, says History. The Veterans themselves experienced Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia and prostate cancer as well as skin problems, diabetes and various psychological issues. Besides these, their children often suffered from birth defects. In 1979 over, 2 million veterans filed a lawsuit seeking recompense for health problems caused by Agent Orange.
Dioxin, one of the chief chemicals found in Agent Orange, is a persistent organic pollutant, according to the World Health Organization. Dioxin is a very stable compound, meaning that it lingers for a long time in an organism after exposure. This affects not only the individual organism, but also the ecosystem, since dioxin persists and accumulates in a food chain due to its ability to remain in the fatty tissue of organisms.Learn more about Insect & Animal Bites