Agent Orange

We must do everything in our power to make the world recognize that our veterans are still paying a high price for fighting the war in Vietnam. Agent Orange is slowly taking the lives of these brave veterans. The government has recognized some diseases but the rules to compensation can be complex. It was in the 1960\'s that we were in the process of trying to destroy vegetation and brush in Vietnam, in doing so we proceeded to contaminate one of the largest parts of the environment, Humankind. War Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange and now live their lives with a disease not necessarily curable. The question remains did these Veterans know about the hazardous effects, and how are they being compensated now? Agent Orange was the code name for a herbicide developed for the military, primarily for use in tropical climates. It destroyed covering vegetation to protect the American and allied troops from ambush. The product "Agent Orange" was named so for the orange band that was used to mark the drums it was stored in. Agent Orange "was a reddish-brown liquid containing two herbicides: 2,4,5-T was contaminated in the manufacturing process with a type of dioxin - 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, also known as TCDD."(VA Fact Sheet) The combined product was mixed with kerosene or diesel fuel and dispersed by vehicle, hand spraying, and aircraft. The term Operation Ranch Hand was the military code name for the spraying of herbicides from United States aircraft in Southeast Asia. "Between 1962 and 1971, Ranch Hand sprayed about 19 million gallons of herbicide, 11 million of which was Agent Orange."(Buckingham 2) Ranch Hand made attacks more difficult by clearing several hundred yards of vegetation in order to make ambushes more difficult and air attacks easier. There was, "more than 10% of the land area of South Vietnam was sprayed at least once, and some were sprayed repeatedly."(Boffey, 1) After several weeks the herbicides would dissolve into the soil which would contaminate the water and the vegetation. "Orange contained relatively high levels of an exceedingly poisonous contaminant known as Dioxin."(Arison, 1) Dioxin is what remained after the herbicides would dissolve; this is not a harmful substance found in nature, but rather a man made poison. The introduction to using resources: Choices and Trade-off states that "The choices people have made in just the last hundred years are largely responsible for what we call the environmental crisis."(Walker, 276) We made this killer and now we are forced to live with it. The destruction this chemical caused to the vegetation should have been the first clue that what destroys nature will in due time destroy us. We are the cause for this mess; but we should have been notified much earlier about the potential risk associated with Agent Orange. According to the Executive Summary on Operations Trail Dust and Ranch Hand, "On April 17,1995 Researchers have found that during the spraying of Agent Orange in southern Vietnam, dioxin levels in human tissue were as high as 900 times greater in Vietnamese living in southern Vietnam than those living in Northern Vietnam where Agent Orange was not used."(Arison5) It was not until 1993, when the Institute of Medicine News reported, "Evidence exists linking three cancers and two other health problems with chemicals used in herbicides used in the Vietnam War, a committee of the Institute of Medicine has concluded. Those diseases are soft tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin\'s lymphoma, and Hodgkin\'s disease as well as chloracne and prophyria cutanea tarda (PCT)."(Turner-Lowe1) An explanation of each disease follows: Non-Hodgkin\'s Lymphoma refers to any group of cancers of lymphoid tissues that multiply. These are found mainly in the lymph nodes and the spleen. The symptoms are related to painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck or groin region. There is an attempted cure for Non-Hodgkin\'s lymphoma, through chemotherapy and the hope for remission. If this disease is not controlled, it will progressively impair the immune system, which will lead to a death from infections. Soft tissue sarcomas are a rare form of cancer, which are malignant tumors that will arise in the tissues of the head, neck and extremities. They are fleshy growths that have the ability to spread to other organs in the body. They can be removed and the cure rate is good