Agent orange was used during the Vietnam War and is a chemical that was implemented to destroy the growth of forests in Vietnam as well as to destroy the food resource supplies. Not only did it destroy plants, it had very damaging results on human beings. It was used initially for crop growth and then incorporated into the herbicidal warfare program with very destructive consequences.
Some of the side effects include cancer, birth defects, respiratory problems and severe skin rashes. It effected a over four million Vietnamese and many were not in the military. Chlorance is a skin problem resulting from agent orange that can look like cystic acne. It has long-term effects and can last as long as thirty years. The unsightly eruptions cause a lot of sadness for those who have been exposed to them. Antibiotics can be helpful to some extent but the skin damage can be psychologically devastating.
A second issue of agent orange chemical is a liver problem called porphyria cutanea tarda. The person with this condition is very sensitive to both heat and sunlight. Skin tone is effected and there can be painful skin blisters as well as the reduction in thickness and elasticity of the skin. Damage to the liver is a serious concern which can cause significant problems over time.
So why do we care about these skin conditions? It is important to understand because not only are millions of Vietnamese citizens still suffering from them, but many American veterans have also been affected. While humanitarian and global health groups are responsible for helping those in Vietnam, any US veterans who suspect they may have skin or other health concerns as a result of exposure to Agent Orange should immediately contact their local Veteran Services. They are legally entitled to treatment for their condition, and while treatment options are limited, they may include oral antibiotics that can help to control the situation.
Agent Orange remains an example of chemical warfare that inflicted incredible harm on the occupied civilian population, the military forces involved in areas where it was used, and the environment as a whole. This article should help us to understand the true long-term ramifications of using such dangerous chemicals, and why it is important to understand their effects because of the people who are still suffering for them today.