Agent Orange was an herbicide the American military used to clear leaves and other vegetation during the Vietnam War. More than 12 million gallons were sprayed in Vietnam, according to the Aspen Institute.
The name Agent Orange comes from the colored stripes on the 55-gallon drums it was kept in.
Reports of potential health problems due to Agent Orange exposure started emerging in the late 1970s. The herbicide has now been connected to dozens of health problems in United States veterans including:
- chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- other forms of cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
The Red Cross, as reported by the Aspen Institute, also estimates more than 3 million Vietnamese people have developed health complications, including 150,000 birth defects, due to Agent Orange contamination.
In 2002Trusted Source, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs added CLL to the list of diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure.
Of the 195 veteransTrusted Source who were diagnosed with CLL from 2001 to 2010, a disproportional 17 percent were exposed to Agent Orange, according to a retrospective cohort study published in 2014.
Researchers have found that the average age of CLL diagnosis in people exposed to Agent Orange was 61 versus 72 for people who were not exposed.