Promoting Hope and Dignity: An Overview

EXCERPT: Agent Orange, a chemical used by the U.S. military during the war in Vietnam, continues to have harmful impacts in Vietnam today. The Red Cross estimates that three million Vietnamese have been affected by Agent Orange, including 150,000 children born with serious birth defects. DOWNLOAD PDF.

History: Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam

EXCERPT: What is Agent Orange? Agent Orange was one of a class of color-coded herbicides that US forces sprayed over the rural landscape in Vietnam from 1961 to 1971 to defoliate trees and shrubs and kill food crops that were providing cover and food to opposition forces. It was a 50/50 mixture of two herbicides: 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. It remained toxic for only days or weeks and then degraded,  but it had a toxic contaminant, dioxin, that did not degrade as readily and is still causing health problems in Vietnam.

Cleaning Up Dioxin-Contaminated Soils

EXCERPT: Agent Orange/dioxin residues in Vietnam can be and are being cleaned up, using well-known and cost-effective methods. Additional resources would allow scale-up and expansion of these best practices to all existing “hot spots.” DOWNLOAD PDF.

Restoring Damaged Landscapes

EXCERPT: What damage did herbicides do in Vietnam? U.S. spraying left behind nearly 5 million acres of denuded or heavily defoliated upland and coastal forests in southern Vietnam – about 36 percent of the total mangrove forest area – and damaged some 500,000 acres of rice and other crops. The total affected area is about the size of Massachusetts. It would take centuries to reproduce the ecologically balanced mix of flora and fauna that once thrived there. Four decades later, many ecosystems have not yet recovered. DOWNLOAD PDF.

Health Effects

EXCERPT: What are the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin? Dioxin even in tiny amounts (parts per trillion) is associated with severe health damage that can shorten the lives of people exposed to it, and potentially that of their offspring and future generations. DOWNLOAD PDF.

The US Situation

EXCERPT: How many U.S. veterans or their children have received benefits related to Agent Orange/dioxin or other herbicides used in Vietnam? In 2008, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provided $13.8 billion in compensation to 1,015,410 Vietnam-era veterans. The agency does not relate these service-connected benefit figures directly to Agent Orange/dioxin exposure or to any other possible cause of illness, nor does it provide data on total compensation for the years since the war ended. DOWNLOAD PDF.

The US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin

Excerpt: What is the U.S. Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin? The idea for a citizen-to-citizen dialogue on Agent Orange was first floated in 2006 by the Ford Foundation to raise the awareness of people in the United States, including U.S. officials and businessmen, of this last remaining issue from the Vietnam war. It is a non-partisan initiative of prominent private citizens, scientists and policy-makers on both sides, working on issues that the two governments have found difficult to address. It is not an implementing agency, nor does it accept or receive funds. DOWNLOAD PDF.

Glossary of Terms

EXCERPT: Agent Orange – One of a group of color-coded herbicides that U.S. forces sprayed over rural southern Vietnam from 1961-1971, during the U.S.-Vietnam war, to destroy ground cover and crops used by opposition forces. It was a 50/50 mixture of two individual herbicides, 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Other herbicides used included Agents White, Pink, Blue, Purple and Green. DOWNLOAD PDF.