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Agent Orange

            In 1962, the United States Military began to use a potentially toxic chemical known as Agent Orange. The toxic chemical was used to eliminate ground cover during the Vietnam War. Vietnamese troops would hide underneath the thick forest and make it impossible for United States troops to spot them. The Army began using Agent Orange as a way of eliminating that problem. The government had very little knowledge about the deadly chemical but went ahead and used it anyway. They had no idea of the disastrous long-term effects that it would have on men, women and children. The hardest group hit by the chemical was not Vietnamese civilians but United States troops. In 1962, Project Ranch Hand was being deployed all over Vietnam. The idea was to destroy the forest on the battle field and make it easier for the United States troops to see the Vietnamese soldiers. The term "agent orange" was given to the chemical because of the bright orange canisters that it was stored in. During the Vietnam War, 11.2 million gallons of Agent Orange were used throughout Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Approximately 2.6 million United States soldiers served in South Vietnam and nearby areas during the war. As the planes would drop the massive amounts of Agent Orange onto Vietnam, United States soldiers would unknowingly walk to certain disaster. At that time they may have had some idea that it might be potentially hazardous but they were not certain. As the soldiers were carrying out their orders they would inevitably breathe in the toxic fumes. Through out the Vietnam War soldiers were beginning to complain of severe medical problems. By 1968, the United States army had received an estimated 4,000 reports of unexplainable illnesses. Many scientists became suspicious and began to conduct experiments to find out the causes of these illnesses. They came up with many different explanations for the sicknesses but the most important one was Agent Orange.

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