Jeanne Mager Stellman PhD, and Steven D. Stellman PhD, MPHAuthor affiliations, information, and correspondence details
Accepted: March 13, 2018 Published Online: May 09, 2018The military herbicides were nicknamed in accordance with the colored stripes on their 55-gallon drums. Agent Orange was a mixture of butoxyethanol esters of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T). Agent Blue, which consisted of dimethylarsinic acid (salt of cacodylic acid), was used primarily for crop destruction. Agent White was a mixture of 2,4-D and picloram. The herbicides that contained 2,4,5-T were contaminated with dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin [TCDD]). The extent and implications of the TCDD content were not widely known or appreciated until well into the 1970s, when 2,4,5-T was banned from most US domestic uses owing to evidence of its teratogenicity.