Essay about Agent Orange : The Vietnam War

786 Words Dec 5th, 2014 4 Pages
Agent Orange The Vietnam War was tragic for many individuals, but one particular factor about the war that will haunt many people for decades to come. This awful factor is Agent Orange. The actual components of this substance were unknown to many during its use in Vietnam; however, its effects are no well known and will never be forgotten. Agent Orange is a defoliant, or herbicide, used in the Vietnam War (Dow). By the name of this herbicide, most individuals would assume the defoliant has an orange pigment. This, however, I an incorrect assumption. Agent Orange is actually white in color. The herbicide received its name not from its color, but from the orange stripes around the 55-gallon barrels that contained the substance (Pradhan 1). At first, this mysterious chemical was thought to be harmless. Many soldiers did not fear it because of the lack of knowledge they had on the matter. Agent Orange actually belonged to a group of herbicides that were used in the Vietnam War: Agent White, Purple, Blue, Pink, and Green (all named after the colored stripes on their container) (Agent 1).The defoliant was meant to destroy vegetation in Vietnam forests so Americans could spot their enemy (Pradhan 1). The reason the herbicide was toxic was due to the fact it contained “small, variable portions of tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin – or dioxin”. This chemical happens to be very deadly, even in tiny quantities (Agent 1). “About thirteen-million gallons of Agent Orange – containing about…

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