Agent Orange is just one defoliant, among other defoliants and herbicides, to be used during the Viet Nam War. However, it is sometimes used broadly when talking about all of the chemicals that were used in Viet Nam during that time, and occasionally for referring to dioxin which is a very toxic chemical within Agent Orange.
Specifically, Agent Orange is an herbicide that was used during the Vietnam War to strip the land of vegetation making it easier for the US troops to see the opposing forces and also to deplete their food supply. Agent Orange was made up of an even mix of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T.
From the manufacturing process of 2,4,5-T comes the useless yet extremely toxic byproduct TCDD commonly referred to as Dioxin. Dioxin is one of the most poisonous chemicals known to man and it is the component that is believed to be the cause of so much damage and has been linked to many cancers and birth defects.
Agent Orange was used along with other
herbicides such as Agent White, Agent Blue, Agent Pink, and Agent Purple.
The names were derived from the color of the barrel that held each chemical
and were in place as a code to help the military distinguish each
herbicide. For more information on Dioxin, Agent Orange, and the
Chemical companies that manufactured and distributed it follow the links to
the side by clicking on the pictures.