What Are Some Facts About Agent Orange?


Quick Answer

Agent Orange was a herbicide used by the United States military from 1962 to 1971. It was used to defoliate trees and foliage during the Vietnam war to destroy potential enemy cover. The name "Agent Orange" came from the orange stripe on the containers where it was stored. It was sprayed forests located in Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam.

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Full Answer

During the Vietnam War, U.S. aircrafts were deployed to spray Agent Orange. Other mixtures of herbicides were created, referred to as the "Rainbow Herbicides." These include Agents White, Purple, Pink, Green and Blue. Approximately 19 million gallons were sprayed over 4.5 million acres of land.

Agent Orange has had a detrimental effect on health as well as the environment. Among the ingredients in the herbicide there was found minute traces of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (or simply dioxin) that is highly toxic to human and animal health. Vietnam reported that around 400,000 people who were exposed to Agent Orange have had serious health defects, some causing death. In the U.S., a large number of Vietnam veterans and their families developed serious afflictions after contact with the herbicide concoction. A 1979 class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the exposed veterans ended in an out-of-court settlement of $180 million in compensation from seven large chemical companies.

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