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Later, the Americans used Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Kennedy that the British had established a precedent for warfare with herbicides in Malaya.During the Malayan Emergency, Britain was the first nation to employ the use of herbicides and defoliants to destroy bushes, trees, and vegetation to deprive insurgents of cover and targeting food crops as part of a starvation campaign in the early 1950s. During the Vietnam War, between 19, the United States military sprayed nearly 20,000,000 U. gallons (75,700,000 L) of various chemicals – the "rainbow herbicides" and defoliants – in Vietnam, eastern Laos, and parts of Cambodia as part of the aerial defoliation program known as Operation Ranch Hand, reaching its peak from 1967 to 1969.

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These included 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), 2,4,5-T (coded LN-14, and also known as trioxone), MCPA (2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid, 1414B and 1414A, recoded LN-8 and LN-32), and isopropyl phenylcarbamate (1313, recoded LN-33). Army ran tests of various 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T mixtures at the Bushnell Army Airfield in Florida, which is now listed as a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS). By the end of the war, the relationship between the two countries was well established. The chemicals involved were 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T, and endothall (3,6-endoxohexahydrophthalic acid).This contributed to widespread famine, leaving hundreds of thousands of people malnourished or starving. In 1965, 42 percent of all herbicide spraying was dedicated to food crops.The first official acknowledgement of the programs came from the State Department in March 1966.Dioxin enters the body by attaching to a protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ah R), a transcription factor.When dioxin binds to Ah R, the protein moves to the nucleus, where it influences gene expression.The extensive environmental damage that resulted from the herbicide prompted the United Nations to pass Resolution 31/72 and ratify the Environmental Modification Convention.

Many states do not regard this as a complete ban on the use of herbicides and defoliants in warfare but it does require case-by-case consideration. The main ingredients of Agent Orange comprise an equal mixture of two phenoxyl herbicides – 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) – in iso-octyl ester form, which contained traces of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD).

With a casual relationship near the threshold of statistical significance in still-births, cleft palate, and neural tube defects, with spina bifida being the most statistically significant defect. Extensive testing for dioxin contamination has been conducted at the former U. The Da Nang Air Base has dioxin contamination up to 350 times higher than international recommendations for action.

The contaminated soil and sediment continue to affect the citizens of Vietnam, poisoning their food chain and causing illnesses, serious skin diseases and a variety of cancers in the lungs, larynx, and prostate.

Many experts at the time, including Arthur Galston, opposed herbicidal warfare due to concerns about the side effects to humans and the environment by indiscriminately spraying the chemical over a wide area. defeated most of the resolutions, arguing that Agent Orange was not a chemical or a biological weapon as it was considered a herbicide and a defoliant and it was used in effort to destroy plant crops to deprive the enemy of cover and not meant to target human beings. were to be charged for using Agent Orange, then Britain and its Commonwealth nations should be charged since they also used it widely during the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s.

As early as 1966, resolutions were introduced to the United Nations charging that the U. was violating the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which regulated the use of chemical and biological weapons. A weapon, by definition, is any device used to injure, defeat, or destroy living beings, structures, or systems, and Agent Orange did not qualify under that definition. In 1969, Britain commented on the draft Resolution 2603 (XXIV): "The evidence seems to us to be notably inadequate for the assertion that the use in war of chemical substances specifically toxic to plants is prohibited by international law." The government of Vietnam says that 4 million of its citizens were exposed to Agent Orange, and as many as 3 million have suffered illnesses because of it; these figures include their children who were exposed. Nguyen Viet Nhan, children in the areas where Agent Orange was used have been affected and have multiple health problems, including cleft palate, mental disabilities, hernias, and extra fingers and toes.

After returning home, Vietnam veterans began to suspect their ill health or the instances of their wives having miscarriages or children born with birth defects might be related to Agent Orange and the other toxic herbicides to which they had been exposed in Vietnam.