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Introduction to “Agent Orange”

April 24th, 2008 · 13 Comments ·

Intro to Agent Orange | History of Herbicides and Early Beginnings of Agent Orange | Use of Agent Orange in Vietnam | Effect of its use in Vietnam

Agent Orang is a 50-50 mixture of n-butyl esters of 2,4,- Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4,5,- Tricholorophenoxyacetic acid. The U.S. Armies name, “Agent Orange”, orginiated from the simply fact that the chemical was shipped to Vietnam in bright orange barrels.

2,4 Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid

2,4,5 trichlorophenoxyacetic

Agent Orange is usually dissolved in an organic solvent such as diesel oil or kerosene before being used as a spray. Agent Orange was most commonly implemented by being sprayed out of slow and low flying transport planes.

Agent Orange is a general-purpose herbicide meaning that it doesn’t differentiate between plant -life. Many Herbicides are created so that when they are applied they don’t harm crops, but kill weeds and other unwanted plant life. When Agent Orange is sprayed all plant-life defoliates in about three to six weeks and it persists doing that for about 7 to 12 months.

Agent Orange is also what is classified as a systemic herbicide, which is absorbed either by the roots or the foliar part of a plant and then is translocated within the plant system to tissues that may be remote from the point of application. Furthermore as a Phenoxy Acid Type herbicide, Agent Orange acts as a synthetic growth hormone, mimicking the natural auxins that occur within plants, which allow for the chemical to be readily absorbed by the foliage

It is important to note that while 61% of all Herbicides sprayed in the almost decade long operation consisted of Agent Orange, other Herbicides were used in Vietnam. For example Agent Purple, Agent White and Agent Blue
o Agent Purple being almost identical to Agent Orange, but simply having a slightly different molecular make-up
o Agent White being the most powerful and persistent jungle defoliator.
o Agent Blue is notable because it was used for destruction of crops, which though only accounted for 14% of the overall herbicide spray missions was nonetheless very controversial.

Tags: Agent Orange