LET’S TALK ABOUT….AGENT ORANGE! A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away, people were engaging in a conflict that was hidden under a thick layer of trees, bushes, and crop growth. In order to make it easier to spot the “enemy”, Huey helicopters were used to spray herbicide over the countryside to kill the trees, bushes, and crops. At the same time, the spray reached the people engaging in the conflict under that landscape.
The year was 1961. The country was Viet Nam. The people engaging in the conflict were from all over the world—including the United States. The herbicide was “Agent Orange”.
Agent Orange was a nickname derived from the orange identification stripe painted around the 55 gallon barrels that stored the deadly herbicide. In chemical scientific terms, Agent Orange is an approximately 1:1 mixture of two phenoxyl herbicides – 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) – in iso-octyl ester form.In 1976 the UN General Assembly considered the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament addressing the use of, and destruction from, Agent Orange. In the fall of 1978 the Environmental Modification Convention was signed and ratified. This convention “prohibits the military or other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects.”
The US sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange over Viet Nam foliage assuring the public that it was only going to destroy the foliage—“no humans were going to be affected”. For decades this statement was confirmed by “those in the know”.
What we know today is that the US government has now recognized the human destruction that has been festering within the personnel that served during the spraying in Viet Nam. Health issues recognized by the VA that are results of Agent Orange are include:
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
Ischemic Heart Disease
Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer)
You can learn more about these diseases and compensation at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/.
By the way, the Vietnamese were not immune to the spraying. It is estimated that over three million of Vietnamese were exposed and continue to be ill from Agent Orange warfare. The US government has sent millions of dollars to compensate the people of Viet Nam.
The VA has also recognized that certain birth defects among Veterans’ children are associated with Agent Orange. Birth defects include, but are not limited to:
• Cleft lip and cleft palate
• Congenital heart disease
• Undescended testicle
• Williams syndrome
Why keep talking about Agent Orange?
We have an obligation to our troops that served. There seems to be more and more veteran obituaries that state “died of complications from Agent Orange.”
Learn from history: spraying insecticides over a populated landscape is not safe. The spray affects everything—including the water sheds and the food supplies.
Keep informed and updated on the “research”, chemical make-up, and use of “insecticides”.
“2, 4-D” is still used in garden “weed killers”. No limit on the size of the “garden”. And, after all, we are neither “military” nor “hostile” users of these chemicals.
Glad we talked about this. Of course, it is just my opinion.
IN MEMORY OF
THOMAS LEE FABRY
US MARINE CORP 1964-1968
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