Agent Orange: Effects on Vietnam Veterans

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During the Vietnam War, some folks in the United States military decided that it would be a good idea to clear the blanket of foliage covering the countryside in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia so that troops on the ground could move easier and targets would be visible from the skies, and to give the North Vietnamese as few places as possible to hide, as well as destroy the native food crop.

Beginning in 1961 and continuing for a decade, the U.S. military dumped tens of millions of liters of dioxin-rich defoliant spray — including Agent Orange, Agent Pink and Agent Purple (the last with the highest dioxin content of the three) — across over 20,000 towns and exposing nearly 5 million people — locals and U.S. military — to these herbicides.

The horrific barbarism of this decision can not be over-stated. The legacy of human misery the U.S. military set in motion by defoliating the fields of Southeast Asia simply defies comprehension.

The Veteran's Administration

Today the Veteran's Administration (VA) recognizes that a number of health problems were likely caused by this enormous defoliant dump. The so-called 'presumptive diseases' that the VA associates with these herbicides includes:

CANCERS

Multiple Myeloma
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Chronic B-cell leukemis
Hodgkin's lymphoma
Prostate cancer
Most soft tissue sarcomas
Lung cancer
Cancer of the larynx
Cancer of the trachea
Cancer of the bronchus

OTHER DISEASES

AL Amyloidosis
Chloracne
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
Ischemic Heart Disease
Peripheral Neuropathy
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease)

BIRTH DEFECTS

And finally, the VA recognizes some birth defects in the children of Vietnam vets as likely being associated with Agent Orange and the other similar defoliants.

This all says nothing of the millions of citizens of Southeast Asia who today live with the exact same diseases and experience the same unspeakable birth defects but for whom little aide is offered.

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