Every caused a great deal of harm.Every caused a great deal of harm.

Every war consists of two sides fighting against each other with the use of distinct strategies in order to win. Several tactics have been applied by the U.S military to combat during the Vietnam War. Certain chemicals were used against the opponent and caused a great deal of harm. The United States utilized a special herbicide that assisted in their plan of invading the Vietnamese. Agent Orange contributed significantly during the Vietnam War, supplying the facilitation of fighting Vietnam troops, but has also left a devastating legacy of negative effects on millions of people’s health including diseases and deaths. Having been a major herbicide mixture used throughout the Vietnam War by different U.S military groups, Agent Orange has made fighting against enemies easier (Public Health). “The Vietnam War began in 1961 and lasted until April of 1975” (Clark, Kylienne A). Until four years before the war ended, the notorious of all the herbicides, Agent Orange, was used (Clark, Kylienne A). “The name ‘Agent Orange’ came from the orange identifying stripe used on the 55-gallon drums in which it was stored” (Public Health). The chemical was sprayed to remove trees and tropical leaves from the perimeters in which Vietnam soldiers were hiding. Rural landscapes containing crops that provided food and coverage for the opponents were sprayed above from airplanes and helicopters controlled by the American military (What is Agent Orange?) This was so that the Vietnam soldiers wouldn’t eat the vegetation for their survival, nor use it to their advantage as a hideout. The U.S. military used this special chemical to outsmart their opponents as they knew the Vietnam forests had been a benefit for their enemy’s coverage. Many airforce, water navy and ground troops from the U.S. forces  have used Agent Orange to help defoliate forest cover, destroy crops, and clear vegetation in the areas the U.S. was to attack (Agent Orange and Cancer).  The special tactic used by the U.S against the Vietnamese was known as “Operation Ranch Hand” and lasted from 1962 to 1971 (Agent Orange and Cancer). “Operation Ranch Hand” was the codename for the aggressive military program put to action during the Vietnam War (Operation Ranch Hand). Between these years, about eleven million gallons of the herbicide have been sprayed in areas of South Vietnam that contained multitudes of forestry (What is Agent Orange?) Planes and helicopters covered a wide range of areas with the spray in Laos and places nearby to avoid North Vietnamese troops and Viet Cong troops from camouflaging within the vegetation and plants. Within days of the chemical application, all forms of animal and plant life were ravaged (Clark, Kylienne A). By eliminating coverage the forests and plants provided enemies in Vietnam, U.S soldiers were able to quickly move around. They didn’t have to struggle through branches and tangled plants to run through the forest and attack. Agent Orange made invading more effective.Agent Orange contained a very toxic ingredient that would take a matter of time to later discover its effect on Veterans’ health. “Dioxins are pollutants that are released into the environment by burning waste, diesel exhaust, chemical manufacturing, and other processes. 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, better known as 2,4-D and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) were ingredients added to the herbicide that contained traces of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD (Public Health). “TCDD is the most toxic of the dioxins, and is classified as a human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency,” meaning it could possibly cause cancer  (Public Health). The dioxins in Agent Orange weren’t intentionally added, as they were a byproduct of its production (Public Health). TCDD has been studied by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to evaluate any health risks to those who were exposed to the chemical (Agent Orange and Cancer). A study done in the 1960’s along with many others did in fact provide evidence of the dioxins linking to health issues of the Veterans exposed to Agent Orange during combat (Agent Orange Summary). The United States government limited its use of all herbicides in 1969, and two years later, completely stopped using it (Agent Orange Summary). Although the spread of Agent Orange destroyed enemy vegetation and trees for the U.S. military to visibly observe their opponents, the chemical has been proven to be the root cause of serious health conditions. “Skin rashes, cancer, psychological symptoms, birth defects in their children, and other health problems” were reported by Veterans who returned from war (Agent Orange and Cancer). TCDD was a dangerous toxic that not only impacted the health of American soldiers, but also Vietnamese civilians and even generations after them (Agent Orange and Cancer). Short-term and long-term effects have been proven to be caused by Agent Orange exposure (Agent Orange Summary). Darkening of the skin, liver and lung problems and chloracne, “a rare skin eruption of blackheads, cysts and nodules, which has been linked directly to dioxin exposure, are a few short-term complications because of exposure to the herbicide (Public Health). Members of the Army Chemical Corps were the most exposed to Agent Orange as well as those controlling planes and helicopters (Agent Orange and Cancer). Any American Vietnam Veteran who flew on or worked with C-123 aircraft in Vietnam or locations nearby, had immediate contact with Agent Orange (C-123 Aircraft). The aircraft carried several gallons of the herbicide that sprayed it over Vietnam jungles (C-123 Aircraft). They had direct contact with the herbicide than those maneuvering boats and trucks. Direct exposures while at war involved breathing in the chemical, absorbing it directly through the skin, through the eyes and even contamination inside food and drinks (Agent Orange and Cancer). Because the chemicals were already in millions of Veterans’ systems, long-term diseases progressed. As several studies have been done to determine the effects of Agent Orange by the United States Government, many have come to the conclusion of cancer associated illnesses. In particular, a 1970 study done on laboratory animals concluded that 2,4, 5-T causes birth defects and cancer (Agent Orange and Cancer). Fetuses are very sensitive to the powerful dioxin and are more susceptible to miscarriages, as well as brain and nervous system development (Clark, Kylienne A). A particularly common birth defect associated with the exposure of the chemical is Spina Bifida (Public Health). It occurs when the fetus does not completely close its spine during a pregnancy (Public Health). This is a very serious condition that is caused by Agent Orange and other herbicides that were within reach of harming Veterans during their military service and has affected their biological children. Veterans Affairs offers benefits to children with Spina Bifida and other birth defects. As long as the specific requirements are met, families of former Veterans are given the proper attention needed. Any child born with birth defects must be a biological child of Veterans with qualifying service in Vietnam or Korea (Public Health). Veterans who have served in Vietnam from “January 9, 1962 through May 7, 1975, or near the Korean demilitarized zone between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971 and were exposed to herbicides” allow their children to be eligible for benefits (Public Health). This is covered by the Agent Orange Act of 1991 that states that Veterans can receive treatment and disability compensation without providing proof (Agent Orange Summary). The benefits include a monthly compensation, “determined by the extent of disability,” the child has (Agent Orange and Cancer). Children of Veterans aren’t the only ones who can receive benefits due to their illnesses, but also Veterans themselves who have developed health problems from Agent Orange exposure. From controlling the chemical in factories to using them in planes and on ground, Agent Orange has left millions of Veterans afflicted from contact with the herbicide. According to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) report, three of various kinds of health effects are validated to be associated with Agent Orange and other herbicide exposures (Agent Orange and Cancer). They include, but are not limited to, Parkinson’s disease, Prostate cancer, and Respiratory cancer. (Agent Orange Summary). “Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking (Public Health). Symptoms include trembling in the hands and legs and stiffness of the limbs (Public Health). Veterans suffering from this condition who were present in areas where Agent Orange was sprayed, are able to register for a free Agent Orange registry health exam (Public Health). “Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate, a small gland in the male reproductive system. Some men may have urinary problems,” however, the condition of the cancer worsens as age increases (Public Health). Dependent children and parents of Veterans who were exposed to herbicides during military service and died as the result of prostate cancer may be eligible for survivors’ benefits (Public Health). The benefits include compensation and health care offered by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, as they are covered for all other diseases as well (Public Health). Because numerous American Vietnam Veterans developed suspicious symptoms decades after returning from war, they suspected were caused by the Agent Orange exposure ( Respiratory cancer is one of the most common diseases progressed after the Vietnam War from extreme exposure to the herbicides (Agent Orange and Cancer). Respiratory cancers are cancers of the lung and trachea with symptoms varying, depending on the location of the cancer (Public Health). For lung cancer, symptoms reflect a cough that doesn’t go away, coughing up blood, and shortness of breath (Public Health). Cancer of the trachea indicates symptoms such as dry cough, breathlessness, and difficulty swallowing (Public Health). For the illnesses Veterans have developed during their military service due to the exposure of Agent Orange, they “do not have to prove a connection between their disease and service to be eligible to receive VA health care and disability compensation” (Public Health).In spite of the fact that Agent Orange is a serious cause of the many diseases Veterans have acquired from their time in war, there are ways to reduce the risk of cancer and preventing their conditions to deteriorate. Doctors suggest to quit smoking, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise regularly to keep the body at a healthy state (Agent Orange and Cancer). By doing these productive tasks, Veterans who were exposed to the toxic chemical and their children born with birth defects can enhance their lives and help their bodies become stronger. It is a matter of learning how to overcome the conditions they are challenged to face because of Agent Orange use throughout the Vietnam War.(Conclusion)