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Q: Agent Orange and Toxic Chemicals ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Agent Orange and Toxic Chemicals
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: ratman2-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 30 Nov 2005 11:00 PST
Expires: 30 Dec 2005 11:00 PST
Question ID: 599579
What is the definition of a Toxic Chemical, and is Agent Orange
considered an Toxic Chemical and why?
Subject: Re: Agent Orange and Toxic Chemicals
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 30 Nov 2005 11:37 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi ratman2,

Thank you for your question.

The definition of toxic chemical according to the Nation Safety
Council - is:

"toxic chemical: Substances that can cause severe illness, poisoning,
birth defects, disease, or death when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed
by living organisms."


Agent Orange From Wikipedia

"Agent Orange is the code name for a powerful herbicide and defoliant
used by the U.S. military in its Herbicidal Warfare program during the
Vietnam War. Agent Orange was used from 1961 to 1971 and has
disputedly caused serious harm to the health of exposed Vietnamese,
Australians, Canadians and Americans, their children and

Agent Orange is a roughly 1:1 mixture of the herbicides
2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and
2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T). These herbicides were
developed during the 1940s for use in controlling broad-leaf plants.
First introduced in 1947, both of these herbicides had widespread use
in agriculture by the middle of the 1950s.

During the Vietnam War, Agent Orange's official military purpose was
to remove the leaves of trees to prevent guerrilla fighters of the
National Liberation Front from hiding. Agent Orange is a colorless
liquid: its name was from the color of the stripes on the barrels used
to transport it. Other code-named herbicides used by the US Army in
moderate to large quantities during this timeframe include Agent Blue
(cacodylic acid), Agent White (4:1 mixture of 2,4-D and picloram),
Agent Purple, Agent Green, and Agent Pink.

Agent Orange as a military defoliant was discontinued in 1971, after
over 6,000 spraying missions in Vietnam and Cambodia; 2,4-D continues
to be widely used as an herbicide. The use of 2,4,5-T has been banned
in the U.S. and many other countries."


Effects on humans

"Agent Orange was found to have toxic dioxin contaminants which have
been blamed for causing health disorders and birth defects in both the
Vietnamese population and U.S. war veterans. It has also been found to
have carcinogenic properties."



"But 19 years after war's end, it seems plain that Agent Orange is
killing and maiming human beings -- something it was never intended to
do. The apparent toxic fallout from those clouds of herbicide is a
crop of human miseries -- including cancers, miscarriages and birth
defects -- that may persist for decades. Says Dr. Hoang Dinh, who
heads a Vietnamese committee researching Agent Orange: ''We think this
will last three generations,'' possibly longer if chromosomal damage
is also involved.

Agent Orange is a pitiless, ongoing executioner -- not only to the
Vietnamese who lived around the 1.3 million hectares where it was used
and to the thousands of U.S. servicemen who believe they were harmed;
it could also threaten the children and grandchildren of both sets of

The risk seems clear but has not been incontrovertibly established. In
a much anticipated 2,000-page report last week, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency concluded that dioxin, the poison in Agent Orange,
probably causes cancer and may be linked to other health problems
including failed embryo development and immune-system disorders. The
agency's investigation was spurred by the discovery of dioxin in U.S.
fish, meat and dairy products, largely as a by-product of industrial


"Agent Orange, named for a distinguishing orange stripe on its steel
drums, was one of a range of herbicides used for nine years in what
was formerly South Vietnam. The chemicals it contained had long been
used as agricultural herbicides in the U.S. But the shipments that
went to the military were contaminated with higher than usual levels
of dioxin -- one of the most potent poisons known to man -- during the
manufacturing process. In all more than 42 million liters of Agent
Orange were sprayed on Vietnam, and they contained an estimated total
of 170 kg of dioxin. A few millionths of a gram is enough to kill a
laboratory animal.

By the late 1970s, U.S. veterans began to suffer strange health
problems, for which they blamed Agent Orange. A class action against
seven chemical companies that manufactured the defoliant was settled
in 1984 for $180 million. More than 230,000 veterans originally
requested Agent Orange physicals from the Department of Veterans
Affairs, though only 38,000 claims have been approved thus far from
the settlement fund."



"Agent Orange is a defoliant, a plant killer, that was used in Vietnam
for "Territory Denial". The idea was that the VC wouldn't be so hard
to kill if we could see them better by killing the jungle canopy that
protected them. Specifically Agent Orange was a 50:50 mixture of two
Phenoxy herbicides, 2, 4-D (2, 4 dichlorophenoxy acetic acid) and 2,
4, 5-T (2, 4, 5-trichlorophenoxy acetic acid). It is ironic that the
Dioxin that makes Agent Orange so deadly isn't even an intended part
of the plant killer. Dioxin is a man made by-product of the
manufacturing process for making Phenoxy herbicides like Agent


"Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), for example is four times more
likely to kill the children of Veterans exposed to Agent Orange than
it is children of parents who were not exposed. This makes medical
sense because it has been shown in the laboratory that Dioxin has an
affect on the immune system and SIDS seems to be an immune system
defect. Information and cases are sparse but they are there. And they
are frightening.

In one case a platoon that operated in an part of Vietnam that had
been heavily sprayed has had five of it's twenty members diagnosed as
suffering from dioxin poisoning. That's twenty five percent. That's
500 percent above the national average for these types of disorders.
This in itself is frightening but, the researcher was only able to
locate six of the twenty members of his platoon! How many of those
that weren't contacted had similar symptoms? Veterans tell story after
story of Veterans who suddenly age. Their hair falls out in clumps,
what remains turns white. They suffer from strange nerve disorders,
irritableness, weight loss, palsies and finally, mercifully, death. In
every case these men were exposed to Agent Orange."


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Best regards,

Request for Answer Clarification by ratman2-ga on 30 Nov 2005 14:47 PST
Thank you for your timely response and it was most helpfull.  I am a
Vietnam Vet who is filling a claim for an increase in Service
Connected Disability from the effects of Agent Orange.  I have been
diagnosed with a problem with my brain that effects my memory, my
speech, and train of thought.  I have diabetis and neuropothy.  I have
pain from my neuropothy and loss of feeling in my hands and feet,
which all are documented by the VA Medical System.  Since I keep
reading about Agent Orange and hearing that it has various health
effects, I was wondering if there is any data on the neuropothy issue
and being connected to my brain problems.  My brain problem is a mild
encephalopahty consistent with focal dysfunction in the fronto
temporal region. One possible sharp wave from the feft fronto temporal
region versus asymmetrical vertex wave.  The aforementioned was
determined by a EEG and a Sleep Deprived EEG.  Therefore, I am looking
to see if there is any medical to link my brain problem with being
exposed to Agent Orange while in Vietnam?

Clarification of Answer by tlspiegel-ga on 30 Nov 2005 17:33 PST
Hi ratman2,

Your request for clarification raises a new set of even more
interesting questions.  I can only give them brief coverage in this
space.  If you want full answers to them, you will need to post them
as new questions at whatever price you consider appropriate.

You didn't indicate in your original question that the information you
sought was for medical reasons.

Please keep in mind that Google Answers Researchers can only provide
general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or replace
sound medical advice from your physician or health care provider. 
*See Important Disclaimer at bottom of this page.

Here is some contact information for Missouri Disabled American
Veterans that might be helpful to you.

DAV Department of Missouri
The DAV Department of Missouri Website

DAV Chapter 2 - Missouri
Website for DAV Chapter 2, Kansas City, MO

Department of Veterans Affairs
St. Louis Regional Office

In answer to your question about what my qualifications are:  I am an
independent contractor hired by Google Answers to work as one of their
researchers.  You'll not be permitted to list me in your claim.

I do wish you the best of luck.

Best regards,
ratman2-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
The answer was very good.  However, I should have pinpointed my exact
reason for requesting the information.  I have sent a reply that
strickly depicts the reason for my request through Google.  I am a
Vietnam Vet, who is seeking a Service Connected Disability Payment
Increase, based on my neuropothy and diabetis problems and have been
diagnosed with a mild condion of the brain.  So, I should have asked a
better question.  Hopefully, I will get the type of quick response
that my first inquiry received.  Also, for my claim I would like to
know who tlspiegel_ga is and what are his or her qualifications, so I
can put it in my submittal to the VA.  Thank you very much. I had a
good experience this first time using this service.

Dan Wilson

Subject: Re: Agent Orange and Toxic Chemicals
From: crabcakes-ga on 30 Nov 2005 16:14 PST

Please contact the closest chapter of the DAV for assistance. My
husband was exposed to Agent Orange in Viet Nam and received a letter
about 4 years ago stating he was eligible for benefits. It took about
a year of paperwork, all done by the DAV for free. They are the best
and I recommend you join them if you have not already. Diabetes is one
of the criteria, if I recall correctly, for increasing benefits.

I believe I have heard that the "window" of opportunity may have been
closed, but I expect the DAV will know what to do.

The DAV can pull up all your records (with your consent, of course)
which will need to be copied and sent in. The DAV has all the info you
need. Good luck and be patient!

Regards, Crabcakes
Subject: Re: Agent Orange and Toxic Chemicals
From: pugwashjw65-ga on 02 Dec 2005 01:51 PST
Agent Orange, as most know, was used by the U.S. in Vietnam to reduce
jungle foliage. It is made up of a mix of deadly herbicides that are a
known carcinogenic [ causes cancer]. Two of the chemicals are 2,4,D
and 2,4,5,T. A friends first husband died before he turned fifty of
liver cancer because he drank water from A.O. drums that had been
supposedly thoroughly rinsed and refilled with drinking water [in
Vietnam]. My own experience is having contracted leukemia from
spraying the same 2,4,D in combatting Cape Tulip, a noxious weed ex
South Africa. Be VERY careful.

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