Agent Orange effects from the toxic defoliant used during the Vietnam War is still showing up in people exposed to it more than 40 years ago.
The discovery was made in a number of Vietnamese men who participated in a recent study. The subjects all lived near a former U.S. military base where Agent Orange was stored during the war.
The study’s findings are published in a recent edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
“This is one of a few studies to examine the individual serum dioxin levels in Vietnamese men who experienced herbicide spraying at any time during the Vietnam War,” the authors wrote.
According to Environmental Health News, in 2010, the researchers tested the blood of 97 men between the ages 55 to 80, who lived near the former Phu Cat base. The findings were compared to blood samples of 85 men who lived in unsprayed areas of northern Vietnam. “The toxic equivalency factor (which measures the toxicity of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds) was 2.5 times higher in the men near the base,” reports EHN. “For the most toxic dioxin, known as TCDD, the levels found in their blood were 1.7 times higher.”
“Our findings suggested that people living close to the former U.S. air bases might have been exposed to both Agent Orange and other sources of dioxin-like compounds,” the scientists wrote.
Close to ten percent of South Vietnam was sprayed with defoliants including Agent Orange between 1961 and 1971. Agent Orange contained TCDD, an herbicide “which has been characterized as the most highly toxic substance known to man,” notes EHN.
The other main ingredient in Agent Orange was 2,4-D, an herbicide now being primed for use on U.S.-grown genetically modified crops that have shown resistance to glyphosate, the herbicide best known as Monsanto’s Roundup. Agent Orange was developed and distributed by Monsanto.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Agent Orange effects have been linked to “prostate cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, skin disorders, heart disease, lung cancer and other health problems in U.S. veterans.
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