Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Alvin L. Young
Agent Orange is a herbicide used by American forces during the Vietnam conflict to remove leaves and other plant life that provided cover to enemy forces. It is a formulation of the two commercially available and widely used herbicides: 2,4-dichlorophenoxy acetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy acetic acid (2,4,5-T). Before the Vietnam conflict, commercial mixtures of the two herbicides were routinely used worldwide in rangeland, rights-of-way, and forest management programs. During the Vietnam War, the 50:50 mixture of esters of the herbicides was applied in jungle areas to clear vegetation and expose enemy infiltration routes, base camps, and weapons placements, and to clear vegetation from the perimeters of friendly military bases and along lines of communication. The objective of the herbicide spraying program was to defoliate thick jungles that provided cover and concealment for the enemy, who would engage in ambushes and other disruptive tactics. During the period from 1965 to ...