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Unpacking the long-term effects of Agent Orange


Veterans in Texas and throughout the United States that fought in the Vietnam War are still battling with the side effects of Agent Orange. Hundreds of thousands of US Vietnam War veterans are suffering from or have died from exposure to the toxins in Agent Orange.

What health problems are caused by Agent Orange?

Agent Orange can cause cancer and many health problems. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), upwards of 2.8 million Vietnam veterans were exposed to Agent Orange. Various diseases are linked to it that qualify a veteran for VA disability, from Parkinson’s disease to prostate cancer to ischemic heart disease.

Why was Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War?

Agent Orange is one of many herbicides used to deforest large swaths of land in Vietnam. The idea was to prevent ambushes and impact the enemy’s supply chain. The effects of this take years to break down. This is why veterans exposed to Agent Orange deal with serious health problems decades later.

Long-term effects for Vietnam residents

Agent Orange endangered close to 4.8 million people in Vietnam while also being used to destroy over three million hectares of forest. Millions of them are suffering from diseases ranging from malformations to cancers. Countless thousands have died. Many women have been left unable to bear children. The adverse health effects of Agent Orange, which have caused illnesses in individuals, can be passed down to their grandchildren, and it is uncertain when these effects will cease.

In recent years, the United States military has engaged in the process of cleaning up Agent Orange contamination in Vietnam. Fortunately, initiatives are underway to support the families of individuals who suffer from permanent health conditions due to exposure to Agent Orange.