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Effects of the Use of Agent Orange

Effects of the Use of Agent Orange

Many nations across the world have been using industrial chemicals which are poisonous to battle operations in wars. For instance, one of the memorable uses of toxic industrial chemicals is the usage of Agent Orange in the United States during the Vietnam Warfare. The US military squirted millions of large volumes of Agent Orange and other herbicides on trees and flora during the Vietnam War. Several decades after this War, there are concerns about the impacts of these toxic chemicals on human health. Many Vietnamese people and Vietnam battle veterans continue to suffer up to date because the authorities who were responsible for the toxic effects of Agent Orange have never accepted responsibility. The use of Agent Orange had several effects, for instance, health defects, environmental destruction, and physiological effects.

Massive areas of South Vietnam were sprayed with millions of gallons of poisonous herbicides. Therefore, more than 5 Million people and particularly civilians were exposed to deadly consequences (Black, 2015). One of the components of the Agent Orange was a dangerous chemical referred to as dioxin. This chemical is known to cause cancer and major birth defects. Millions of Vietnamese have died since the beginning of the spraying. However, others have been complicatedly wounded by diseases which are acknowledged by the US government as associated to the Agent Orange with the aim of offering compensation to the Vietnam veterans in the US. The intended victims of this spraying were the Vietnamese; they experienced the most powerful and awful impact on the health of human beings as well as the destruction of the environment. Parents who were exposed to heavy spraying have given birth to second and third generation children with horrifying deformities that are attributed to the dioxin in the Agent Orange (Young & Cecil, 2011).

The victims of the spraying suffer from cancer, skin and nervous disorders, damage to the liver, heart-related diseases and defects to the reproductive capacity. Their second and third generation children suffer from severe physical defect, psychological and physical abnormality, diseases, and reduced life spans. The legal action of the Vietnamese fatalities of the Agent Orange against the Chemical firms in a US central court has not been successful. However, there exists a pending legislation for the compensation by the United States (Young & Cecil, 2011). Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during military service may be entitled to a variety of Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits. Currently, the United States policy detaches itself from the use of the herbicides in war but states clearly that the herbicides can be used in cases of retaliation in which the president directs their use. The millions of victims across the world who suffer from devastating effects of Agent Orange should be subjected to Agent-Orange related benefits.

Exposure to Agent Orange is associated with various signs and symptoms which are linked to different diseases. Fatigue, the low cell count of blood cells, reduction in weight, and numbness are symptoms which are associated with AL Amyloidosis disease which is related to Agent Orange exposure. However, some victims of Agent Orange exposure experience recurrent infections, inflamed lymph nodes, enlarged liver, and easy hemorrhage or bruising which are related to chronic B-Cell Leukemia. Exposure to this toxic herbicide can also result in blurry vision, excessive thirst, frequent urination, and hunger which are related to Diabetes. Other victims experience chest pain, dizziness, and heartburn which signify Ischemic heart disease (Young & Cecil, 2011). Other symptoms associated with Agent Orange exposure include urinary problems, sore throat, coughing up blood, and shortness of breath.

Appropriate assessment of the influence of Agent Orange on cancer of soft tissues and other chronic health problems has not yet been conducted because they have a long incubation period. However, many symptoms related to exposure to this toxic herbicide have a short incubation period and therefore occur within a short period of exposure. The exposure to Agent Orange may have occurred either by inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact; these resulted in respiratory problems, breathing difficulties, and skin diseases. Avoiding skin contact with affected individuals as well as avoiding contaminated foods and drinks could help in preventing disorders associated with Agent Orange exposure (Clapp, Baraldi, Grassman, Mirer, Robie, & Schnall, 2014). The VA has currently developed several approaches, for instance, the scientific assessment of reviews of herbicides and dioxin health effects and other related procedures which have made it easier for Vietnam veterans to get recognition for any illness or injuries they suffer that may be related to herbicide exposure. Therefore, Vietnam veterans can now access comprehensive healthcare program that addresses their special concerns.

The atmospheric changes caused by chemical weapons, for instance, Agent Orange can result in weather and climate changes because of the high temperature involved during destruction. Therefore, the use of Agent Orange resulted in extremely hot conditions. Many troops suffered physiological and physical effects during the war and therefore this resulted in several deaths. Many Americans lost their lives as a result of brutal life conditions of the Vietnam War. A counteraction strategy known as Vietnamization was taken in 1969 by the then US president Richard Nixon whose motive was to end the Americans involvement in Vietnam War by transferring all military personnel to the South Vietnam (Clapp et al, 2014). This would ensure that the South Vietnamese take full responsibility of their defense against a communist takeover.

In conclusion, the spraying of the toxic Agent Orange by the US military during the Vietnam War caused many health defects and deaths to millions of people. The powerful effect of this spraying was felt by the Vietnamese who were the projected victims of the squirting. Massive destruction of the environment was also witnessed. Today, the US policy states that there is no use of toxic industrial chemicals. However, these chemicals can be used in case of retaliation. The use of Agent Orange resulted in extreme hot weather conditions in Vietnam. Vietnam War had sociological impacts on troops and American civilians. Vietnamization strategy ended the American involvement in Vietnam War.


Black, G. (2015). The Lethal Legacy of the Vietnam War. (cover story). Nation, 300(11), 12.

Clapp, R. W., Baraldi, C., Grassman, J., Mirer, F., Robie, D., & Schnall, S. (2014). Agent Orange in Vietnam. American Journal of Public Health, 104(10), 1860-1861. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302089

Young, A. L., & Cecil, P. F. (2011). Agent Orange Exposure and Attributed Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans. Military Medicine, 29-34.