What Are the Health Side Effects of Agent Orange?


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Health side effects associated with Agent Orange include leukemia, type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart disease and Parkinson's disease, explains the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs. Individuals who have been exposed to Agent Orange are also at risk of developing prostate cancer and certain lung cancers.

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Additional medical conditions that are recognized by the Veterans' Association as being linked to Agent Orange exposure include nervous system disorders, cancer of the trachea, Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, explains the Veterans' Health Council. Children born to females who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam war may also be at risk for developing conditions such as cleft lip, congenital heart disease and hip dysplasia.

Agent Orange is a herbicide consisting of the chemicals dichlophenoxyacetic acid and trichlophenoxyacetic acid that was utilized by the American military to eradicate crops during the Vietnam War, explains the American Cancer Society. The herbicide was named Agent Orange due to the fact that the containers holding the chemicals were designed with an orange stripe. In 1970, Agent Orange was shown to cause birth defects in laboratory test animals. During the 1970s, certain veterans experienced various physical and mental illnesses that were later linked to Agent Orange exposure. While studies are ongoing as of 2015, the Institute of Medicine has determined that there is evidence that soft tissue sarcomas, Hodgkin's disease and several other cancers are associated with exposure to the Agent Orange toxin.

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