What Were the Effects of Agent Orange on Vietnamese Children?


Quick Answer

The most widespread effect of Agent Orange on Vietnamese children was the large increase in serious birth defects in children whose parents were exposed to the chemical, according to History. Approximately 4.8 million Vietnamese people have been exposed, reports News.com.au.

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Exposure to Agent Orange led to approximately 400,000 deaths among the Vietnamese, according to News.com.au. In 2015, approximately 40 years after the Vietnam War ended, about 100,000 children were ill or disabled due to Agent Orange. In addition to birth defects, exposure to dioxin is linked with some cancers, autoimmune disorders, neurological problems and other serious health problems. These conditions are most common among people who live near former U.S. military bases in Vietnam.

Although the most widespread effects of Agent Orange were reported in Vietnam, U.S. soldiers who participated in the war and their families have also been affected, according to Vietnam Veterans of America. Children of people who served in Vietnam have a higher rate of birth defects that are linked to Agent Orange, and some may be eligible to receive benefits from the Veterans Administration.

Agent Orange is an effective herbicide, reports History. It was used heavily by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to help deforest the jungles where enemy soldiers were hiding. The primary ingredient of Agent Orange is dioxin. This chemical is extremely toxic to humans, and, once spread over an area, can linger in the environment for a long time, causing continuous exposure, states News.com.au.

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