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America is Finally Cleaning Up Agent Orange in Vietnam

derekmead (2466858) writes | about a year and a half ago

The Military 1

derekmead (2466858) writes "It only took 40 years. And yes, Washington still disputes Hanoi’s claim that up to 4 million Vietnamese suffered contact with the defoliant, which was dumped en masse in a U.S. air campaign to scorch away the dense jungle cover under which guerilla fighters hid. But the AP reports that the U.S. is finally set to start cleaning up the mess.

Not to give short shrift to the unconscionable, U.S.-led carpet bombing of Cambodia in 1970, of course. But to really size up the horrific, lingering sting of the Vietnam conflict you have to consider the equally long-lasting and nightmarish fallout from America’s wanton fire-hosing of Agent Orange. The numbers are staggering: Between 1962 and 1971, the U.S. military sprayed some 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and a galaxy of other herbicides on nearly a quarter of former South Vietnam. The defoliant ate through about 5 millions acres – a tract comparable in size to Massachusetts – of forest. An additional half-million acres of crops were decimated."

1 comment

Decimated...??? (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about a year and a half ago | (#40923647)

Decimated.... as in killed one tree in ten....

  2,4-D and 2,4,5-T are perhaps the most common herbicide and defoliants
in use today. The terror stems from toxic dioxin compound
contaminating the material delivered to the DOD. At that time
the problems associated with dioxins was ill understood. I wish
headlines would focus on dioxin because dioxin contamination
is a global issue vastly larger than "Agent Orange" contamination
despite the millions of gallons at some unknown/ unstated dilution.

WP reminds me:
"According to the Agency of Toxic Substances & Disease Registry[39]:

        "Dioxins are not intentionally produced and have no known use. They are the by-products of various industrial processes (i.e., bleaching paper pulp, and chemical and pesticide manufacture) and combustion activities (i.e., burning household trash, forest fires, and waste incineration)....."

Quite a real problem but an uninformed headline.

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