Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Enduring Impact of Agent Orange Today

1:12 PM

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The U.S. military has a long history of experimenting on various weapons to win its wars. One of them that continues to have an impact to this day is Agent Orange, a type of herbicide used to destroy crops and vegetation in enemy territory. While it was never intended to target humans directly, Agent Orange is now believed to be the cause of leukemia, prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and other ailments to many former American servicemen and women.
Agent Orange is perhaps most well-known for its use in the Vietnam War, where about 20 million gallons of tactical herbicides were deployed by the U.S. military between 1962 and 1971. However, Agent Orange was also used in other occasions, particularly when parts of the Korean demilitarized zone had to be cleared out between 1968 and 1971. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, former service personnel who were stationed in bases where Agent Orange was stored or tested are among those most likely to suffer from the side-effects of this herbicide.
The side-effects don’t just end with the affected individuals, though. In Vietnam, about 500,000 children were born with birth defects as a result of their parents’ exposure to Agent Orange. Just some of the disabilities that they currently suffer from are spina bifida (protruding lump in the spine), physical deformities, and psychological problems.


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