How the Vietnam War Effected Peoples Health

By: Zach Knaebe

In the Vietnam war the United States as a whole sprayed a total of 76,000,000 L of herbicides. Most of them being as what we know to be agent orange which is a dioxin. When the chemical was released by U.S. planes it reached more than 3 million Vietnamese people and over the past 50 years over 150,000 have been born with birth defects. It is estimated that roughly over 3100 villages were sprayed with the harmful chemical. It was sprayed relatively close by, it was sprayed not just were US bases were to clear vegetation, forests and crops but also where enemy forces were hiding. Their was and still are efforts to clean up the remaining mess and it still has affected the locals that still live near spots that still contain the hazardous chemical. Soldiers and citizens were exposed to two kinds of Agent Orange acid, (2,4-D) and (2,4,5-T). Agent Orange also caused other health risked such as Hodgkin's Disease and other kinds of cancers. Agent Orange wasn't the only cause of health issues, hygiene in Vietnam was poor and the hot humid tropical environment didn't help either. Skin disease were the leading cause of hospitalization, a tropical disease that was common was malaria, over 40,000 cases where reported with 78 deaths over a 5 year time period. The world Health Organization has discovered that Agent Orange has been believe to lead to immune, endocrine, reproductive, gastrointestinal, skin, and nervous systems problems. The person you could say is behind all of this is Elmo Russle Zumwalt Jr. who ordered the agent orange and other dioxins to be spread among Vietnam who's job was also to command and patrol the waterways of Vietnam.

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