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During the Malayan Emergency (1948–1960), Britain was the first nation to employ the use of herbicides and defoliants to destroy bushes, trees, and vegetation to deprive insurgents of concealment and targeting food crops as part of a starvation campaign in the early 1950s. In August of that year, the Republic of Vietnam Air Force conducted herbicide operations with American help. officials considered using it, pointing out that the British had already used herbicides and defoliants during the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s. Kennedy authorized the start of Operation Ranch Hand, the codename for the U. For comparison purposes, an olympic size pool holds approximately 660,000 U. S.-dominated cities, depriving the guerrillas of their rural support base. Spray runs were also conducted from trucks, boats, and backpack sprayers. Congress were told "crop destruction is understood to be the more important purpose ...
A detailed account of how the British experimented with the spraying of herbicides was written by two scientists, E. Woodford of Agricultural Research Council's Unit of Experimental Agronomy and H. But Diem's request launched a policy debate in the White House and the State and Defense Departments. Agent Orange was usually sprayed from helicopters or from low-flying C-123 Provider aircraft, fitted with sprayers and "MC-1 Hourglass" pump systems and 1,000 U. By 1971, 12 percent of the total area of South Vietnam had been sprayed with defoliating chemicals, at an average concentration of 13 times the recommended U. Department of Agriculture application rate for domestic use. but the emphasis is usually given to the jungle defoliation in public mention of the program." Military personnel were told they were destroying crops because they were going to be used to feed guerrillas.
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.
Over 3,100,000 hectares (31,000 km) of forest were defoliated.
Defoliants eroded tree cover and seedling forest stock, making reforestation difficult in numerous areas.
Several herbicides were discovered as part of efforts by the USA and the British to develop herbicidal weapons for use during World War II. Department of the Army contracted the botanist and bioethicist Arthur Galston, who discovered the defoliants later used in Agent Orange, and his employer University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana to study the effects of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T on cereal grains (including rice) and broadleaf crops. Army ran tests of various 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T mixtures at the Bushnell Army Airfield in Florida. 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). Secretary of State Dean Rusk advised President John F.
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). From these studies arose the concept of using aerial applications of herbicides to destroy enemy crops to disrupt their food supply. During 1952–53, the unit supervised the aerial spraying of 2,4,5-T over the Waturi peninsula in Kenya to assess the value of defoliants in the eradication of tsetse fly. Kennedy that the British had established a precedent for warfare with herbicides in Malaya. 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. The program was also a part of a general policy of forced draft urbanization, which aimed to destroy the ability of peasants to support themselves in the countryside, forcing them to flee to the U.
The persistent nature of dioxins, erosion caused by loss of tree cover, and loss of seedling forest stock meant that reforestation was difficult (or impossible) in many areas.