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The Aftereffects of Agent Orange

            In a soldier's family, there might be second or third generation birth defects. Spinal bifida is the direct or indirect result of genetics caused by Agent Orange. The Vietnam War began in 1961, and during that time the United States used some chemicals to destroy plants and vegetation, and often Agent Orange was used. Forty years later, that chemical not only destroyed vegetation, but also humans. It continues to affect second, third, even fourth and fifth generations. "I did not know anything about the spraying, but one day - it was 1969 - I delivered for the first time in my life a severely deformed baby. It had no head or arms," reported DR. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, director of Tu Du Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City (Wilcox. 2011).
             Everybody knows that Agent Orange caused diseases in soldiers who came back from the Vietnam War, but the exact number of people affected is unknown. Agent Orange is a fifty-fifty combination of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, two commercial herbicides used widely in the United States (Stellman et, al. 2003). A research botanist, Dr. Arthur W. Galston, discovered Agent Orange, but he had no intention of producing a toxic chemical. He just wanted to use it as part of his research. The 2,4,5-T in Agent Orange was contaminated with TCDD-dioxin, which is carcinogenic and fetus-deforming. This is the main chemical that causes diseases in humans [Nil]. The United States used fifteen different herbicides in Southeast Asia, including the types of orange, green, white, pink and purple, all of which are mixtures of various herbicides. Agent Orange was the most widely used herbicide. The fifteen herbicides used were also known as color death (James 2005).
             The United States started spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam War in 1967 with the intent to poison thick vegetation that concealed enemy locations during the war. The herbicide was believed not to affect humans. The United States claims that Agent Orange contains only a small amount of this type of dioxin, but the area affected by Agent Orange in storage showed very high concentrations of dioxin.

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