A tactical herbicide and defoliant (chemical used to remove leaves from trees and plants) employed by the US military during the Vietnam War during “Operation Ranch Hand.” It was sprayed from aircraft with the purpose of depriving the enemies of food and removing dense tropical foliage that provided enemy cover. The name was derived from the orange stripe that identified the large drums in which it was stored. It was composed of two active ingredients: 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T). Studies involving US military personnel have linked exposure to these chemicals with higher incidence of various cancers, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other medical issues (US Department of Veterans Affairs).
References and Readings
- US Department of Veterans Affairs. Facts About Herbicides. Retrieved January 24, 2017, from http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/basics.asp.