War Related Illness and Injury Study Center
Agent Orange is the name used to describe a particular type of herbicide that was used by the military in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971. It was used to remove unwanted plant life and leaves which otherwise provided cover for enemy forces. The name "Agent Orange" came from the orange strip on the 55-gallon drums in which it was stored. Agent Orange was a mixture of chemicals containing nearly equal amounts of the two active ingredients, 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and 2,4,5-T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid). During the manufacturing process of these ingredients, a contaminant 2,3,7,8-tetracholordibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD (also called "dioxin") was produced in very small quantities.
Many Vietnam Veterans have questions regarding Agent Orange exposure because it did contain minute amounts of dioxin. There has been an extensive amount of research performed on evaluating the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange. Research results to date from various sources including VA, Center for Disease Control (CDC), and Institute of Medicine are published every two years by VA.
Also, VA recognizes a number of conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure. Unfortunately, there is no good data to determine how much contact with the Agent Orange herbicide Vietnam Veterans may have had or to identify how much Agent Orange exposure was required to increase the risk of the developing one of the health
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has created an Agent Orange Registry Program to respond to the medical problems and concerns of Veterans exposed to Agent Orange. This registry program is one way in which the VA monitors the special health concerns of Vietnam Veterans. If you are a Vietnam Veteran with an Agent Orange Health Concern, you may be eligible for the Agent Orange Registry. The registry provides eligible Veterans a free specialized and comprehensive health examination with blood work, urinalysis, EKG and chest-x-ray (when medically indicated) and answers to any questions they may have regarding Agent Orange.