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What Happened To People Who Came Into Contact With Agent Orange During The Vietnam War?

Updated 11 Oct 2018 126.9k views14 items

The staggering death toll from the Vietnam War continues to rise - not from combat, since the war technically ended in 1975, but from the side effects of Agent Orange. Agent Orange was one of several toxic herbicides used by the US government during the Vietnam War to clear Southeast Asian jungles of foliage cover, but its chemical composition has had long-term consequences.

War veterans, Vietnamese citizens, and descendants from all involved parties continue to suffer from deadly health conditions and deformities as a result of poison exposure, and both the landscape and the food chain have yet to recover from the long-lasting residuals of leaching toxins. Agent Orange was a military tactic, but it has proven to be more of a backfiring torture method than anything else.

In 1976, the UN's Environmental Modification Convention banned "any technique for changing the composition of structure of the Earth's biota," which meant they strictly forbade herbicidal warfare. Even so, both the US and Vietnamese governments have been slow to acknowledge the Agent Orange problem or offer reparations for the widespread damage caused by their herbicidal strategy, despite reports that millions of people continue to be affected.

But slowly, through scientific studies and activism championed by veterans and their descendants, the governments have begun working to create policies for both health care and environmental cleanup. Agent Orange is gone, but it is still very much alive for many unfortunate victims.

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