The War at Home.
Impact on the United States
The impact of Agent Orange on the US to a certain extent parallels its effects in Vietnam. The population exposed to the chemical in Vietnam, by inhaling the vapors or touching the liquid, began to suffer an unusual incidence of suspicious diseases not long afterward, and that have mounted in number as the population has aged. This population, of course, is our Vietnam veterans.
Meanwhile, the children of Vietnam veterans have likewise suffered an unusual number of birth defects and similar disabilities, again suggesting the presence of dioxin in the genes and breast milk of those exposed. As with the Vietnamese, the final American victims of Agent Orange are yet unborn.
And then there are the first victims of 2,4,5-T, affected by dioxin during the manufacture of the herbicide.
“Thousands, including me, are alive today because of Agent Orange.”
– Lt Elmo Zumwalt IV, “My Father, My Son,” 1986.
While the herbicidal component of Agent Orange has not devastated our greenery, dioxin “hot spots” associated with locations where the chemical was tested, stored, or manufactured do pose a continuing threat to human health.
Campus Protest. Photo: Andrew Sacks
Agent Orange Dioxin Survivors Uniting Internationally
DoD list (2019) of Agent Orange testing locations outside of Vietnam.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 11 (2018). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.