the effects of Agent Orange
When? How? Who?
During the second Indochina War, between 1961 and 1971,millions of litres of toxic chemicals, including aherbicide called Agent Orange - which contained dioxin -were sprayed over large parts of Vietnam. According to U.S.defense records, the U.S. Air Force sprayed 72 millionlitres of toxic chemicals, of which 44 million were AgentOrange - the most toxic chemical discovered so far.
Agent Orange and dioxin are especially harmful to humanhealth. Recent laboratory tests of human tissue samples(blood, fat tissue, and breast milk) taken from exposedveterans and people living in sprayed areas revealed levelsof dioxin higher tham levels found in people living in non-sprayed areas of Vietnam as well as people living inindustrialised countries.Since 1990, the
Agent Orange Victims Fund
has been testingdioxin in pooled blood samples from different areas inorder to map out the average dioxin levels throughout thecountry. Blood samples collected from those in northernVietnam have the lowest dioxin levels (2-3 ppt) and almostall the samples collected from people in southern Vietnam,where the chemicals were sprayed showed a much higherdioxin level.Most noteworthy are the levels of dioxin in breast milk.The high level of dioxin in nursing mothers shows howcontamination spreads and bio-acumulates from mothers totheir children.Epidemiological studies have shown an elevated rate ofdiseases and disorders in people exposed to dioxin. Theseinclude high rates of cancers, abnormalities duringpregnancies, neurological and metabolic disorders, andespecially birth defects.
How many people?
Millions of Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orangeduring the war. It is estimated that today approximately amillion people have disabilities or other health problemsassociated with Agent Orange, according to a number of