Chicago Tribune Series
Chicago Tribune December 4, 2009

Agent Orange's Lethal Legacy: For U.S. a record of neglect

Poisonous Defoliants still exact toll in U.S., Vietnam

By Jason Grottoo and Tim Jones

Part 1 of a Tribune investigation finds that U.S. officials have neglected a lasting problem even as the health fallout has spread.

In central Indiana, two sisters struggle through another day, afflicted by a painful condition in which their brains are wedged against their spinal cords. They are in their 30s, but their bodies are slowly shutting down.

Thousands of miles away, amid the rice paddies of Vietnam, a father holds down his 19-year-old daughter as she writhes in pain from a seizure brought on by fluid in her skull, which has been drained four times in the past four years.


Video: Vet's Daughters cope with toxic inheritance. By Chris Walker. Produced by Peggy Draver

Video: In Vietnam, family grieves 12 lost children Photography and Video by Kuni Takahashi

Interactive Map: View spraying missions in Vietnam by date and location By Jason Grotto, Chris Groskopf, Ryan Mark, Joe Dermuska and Brian Boyer

Photo Gallery: The Legacy of Agent Orange

Chicago Tribune December 9, 2009

Agent Orange's lethal legacy: At former US bases in Vietnam, a potent poison is clear and present danger.

Bases remain polluted from defoliants, underscoring the urgency of a solvable problem

By Jason Grotto

DA NANG, Vietnam —

Part 4 of a Tribune investigation finds that a former U.S. air bases in Vietnam remain highly polluted by defoliants, but the U.S. has done little to clean up the sites it contaminated during the war.

When a small Canadian environmental firm started collecting soil samples on a former U.S. air base in a remote Vietnam valley, Thomas Boivin and other scientists were skeptical they'd find evidence proving herbicides used there by the U.S. military decades ago still posed a health threat.

But results showed levels of the cancer-causing poison dioxin were far greater than guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for residential areas.



Jungles another casualty of spraying missions Photography and video by Kuni Takahashi

Chicago Tribune December 17, 2009

Agent Orange Lethal Legacy: Defoliants more dangerous than they had to be

Part 5 of a Tribune investigation unearths documents showing that decisions by the U.S. military and chemical companies that manufactured the defoliants used in Vietnam made the spraying more dangerous than it had to be.

As the U.S. military aggressively ratcheted up its spraying of Agent Orange over South Vietnam in 1965, the government and the chemical companies that produced the defoliant knew it posed health risks to soldiers and others who were exposed.


The hazards of dioxin in the environment Video by Chris Walker. Produced by Peggy Draver


Map: Agent Orange and South Vietnam By Max Rust and Phil Geib/Tribune



Agent Orange Devastates Generations of Vietnamese World Focus Report.
(Video) January 15, 2009.   

World Focus correspondent Mark Litke and producer Ara Ayer travel to Vietnam to report on the long term impacts of Agent Orange/Dioxin on the Vietnamese land and people. This video report was part of their series on New Vietnam.

Agent Orange Vietnam's Lasting Legacy - on PBS Foreign Exchange Episode 322 (June 3-4, 2007) by Christie Aschwanden and George Lerner (film clip starts at min 16).

Also see the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for other videos from their trip to Vietnam.