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Agent Orange

Agent Orange research paper due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?

During the Vietnam War the United States military dumped millions of gallons of herbicides and defoliants on the Vietnam, Laos and Cambodian countryside. In 1962 a “chemical weapon” program named Operation Ranch Hand was launched. Its purpose was to strip the jungle hills and lowlands of vegetation, leaving the guerilla fighters without food or cover. The program was also expected to reduce food crops for the rural peasant population, forcing them to evacuate to U.S. held cities, leaving the guerillas on their own and without citizen support.

Agent Orange

One of the most toxic agents used in this campaign was the chemical defoliant Agent Orange, getting its name from the orange barrels it was stored in. Even before the first helicopter was engaged to spray its load, a number of studies had shown that Agent Orange, its component compounds, and its manufacturing byproducts were extremely dangerous to animals and humans. The US government was made aware as early as 1952 that Agent Orange was contaminated with a dioxin, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), described as “perhaps the most toxic molecule ever synthesized by man”. While the program was discontinued in 1971, the horrendous damage to land, animal and human had already been done. Millions of acres of jungle forest and cropland were destroyed. Cattle, water buffalo and pig populations were devastated. Nearly 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange.

For those who did not die shortly after the exposure to Agent Orange, lingering deadly side effects have ravaged the area for decades. The U.S. military has been affected as well. Many of the veterans involved in the preparation and spraying of Agent Orange have suffered devastating side effects. The first claims by affected veterans for disability payments were filed in 1977. Whether the claims are valid that the US government should be responsible to these men has always been a controversial issue. Congress enacted the Agent Orange Act in 1991, however the number of those veterans filing claims and actually receiving treatment and compensation is small.

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