Case Study, 7 pages (1800 words)

America’s those patients (exactly 33%) were diagnosed

America’sinvolvement in Vietnam left tangible, long term impacts that Americans shouldbe ashamed of. These crippling and fatal ailments allowed the world to see the horrificaffects that Agent Orange has caused.

It changed the attitudes of a generation, where many became skeptical and cynical of the government’s choices in theVietnam war. The lack of awareness and denial pertaining to Agent Orange was amoral outrage. It took the lives of innocent children and caused diseases inveterans that couldn’t be cured. The US government is to blame for affecting hundredsof thousands of innocent lives in the Vietnam War.              The most shocking case study of Agent Orangeexposure has been linked to the deadliest form of prostate cancer. Dr.

MarkGarzotto the author of the current study but also a physician at the PortlandVeterans Administration Medical center is investigating the deadliest form ofprostate cancer. Dr. Garzotto and his colleges studied more than 2, 700 USveterans that had recently undergone a prostate biopsy. Nine-hundred of thosepatients (exactly 33%) were diagnosed with prostate cancer (Jaslow). Out of the900, 459 patients had a more aggressive, high grade disease of prostate cancer. Researchers determined exposure to Agent Orange was linked to a 52% increase inprostate cancer, with a 75% increase in the deadliest forms of prostate cancer (Jaslow).

However, Dr. David B. Samadi (a urologist and chief of robotics with minimalinvasive surgery experience at the Icahn School of Medicine) concluded that “ theduration of your exposure can have a huge correlation with the chance ofdeveloping prostate cancer” (qtd. in Jaslow). Extensive amounts of time can “ changethe DNA and send a cell into a different cycle, making it a cancer cell” accordingto Dr. Samadi (qtd. in Jaslow).

More so, another study conducted by the UCDavis Center, complied a large group of males in their 60s. These men weretested on a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, that provided a powerful wayto diagnose and track prostate cancer early (Jaslow). The men were separatedinto two groups: one group was exposed to Agent Orange while the other groupwas not exposed to Agent Orange between the years of 1961 and 1971.

This studywent under a medical evaluation between 1998 and 2006 and revealed that twiceas many men exposed to Agent Orange were identified with prostate cancer (Jaslow).  This study helped diagnose those affected byAgent Orange two-and-half years earlier and were nearly four times more likelyto present with metastatic disease (advanced cancer).  With 20% of the Vietnam’s surface covered in Agent Orange, a disease thateffects the thyroid has affected 200, 000 vets who served in the Vietnam War (Tucker). This disease is known as Graves’ disease which is an autoimmune problem thatcauses the thyroid gland to produce too much of the thyroid hormone.

The glandreleases the hormone T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine) that controls thebody’s metabolism and is critical when regulating weight, mood, andphysical/mental energy levels (Agent Orange Exposure). The dioxin in AgentOrange has similar chemical properties that are like the thyroid hormones: itbinds with the cells in the body’s immune system that can cause abnormalgrowths. Ultimately this disease is the underlying cause for hyperthyroidism(Tucker).  A study was conducted at theUniversity of Buffalo testing exposed Veterans (23, 939) and the non-exposedveterans (200, 109) that compared “ the frequency of diagnosis of thyroid cancer, nodules, hypothyroidism, and Graves’ disease between the two groups” (AgentOrange Exposure). Results revealed that there was no difference in theprevalence of thyroid nodules or cancers between the two groups. But, theauthor of this study, Ajay Varanasi MD (an endocrinology fellow in the UBDepartment of Medicine) found that Graves’ disease had been three times moreprevalent in the exposed group (Agent Orange Exposure). If left untreated itcan cause serious problems to the body: it can weaken the bones, cause heart damage, create eye problems, or the development of a rare condition can occur within thethyroid that can become life threatening (Palazzo). Americans and theVietnamese suffered greatly from this disease, however it wasn’t the worstdisease that has been connected to Agent Orange.

SpinaBifida is a known birth defect in the offspring of the parents who have been exposedto Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. Spina bifida is a condition where the neural tube (a hollow structure wherethe brain and spinal cord form) ofa fetus fails to develop normally into the brain, the spinal cord, and theenveloping tissues. The incomplete development leads to an opening ormalformation in the spine, but depending on the location, size, and exposure ofthe malformation it can affect the severity of the condition. Victims of spina bifidatypically have nerve damage, paralysis, and mental disabilities (Chou). In the 1980s, the CDC (USCentre for Disease Control) conducted a study on birth defects analyzing theEOI (Exposure Opportunity Index) based on the interview data.

The study foundthat the risk of spina bifida was significantly associated with the exposure ofAgent Orange. Two studies, the Ranch Hand study and the CDC Vietnam experiencestudy, proved that those exposed had an elevated risk for fathering childrenwith spina bifida. In 2006 Ngo, Taylor, and Roberts reviewed 22 studies withdata from the US, the Australians, the Vietnamese veterans, and the sprayedcivilians. (38). Results showed that the victims exposed to Agent Orange weretwice as likely to have a child with birth defects compared to those who wereunexposed. America’s choice to use such devastating chemicals has now impacted thelives of their children but also the Vietnamese children. Parents watch theirchild live in agony and relentless pain because of the US governments choices: because of the government these children can no longer live a normal life.

With43, 332, 640 liters of Agent Orange sprayed in total during 1965-1971, no oneknew what entailed next. By 1974, thesecond herbicide committee formed by the US National Academy of Sciences andthe US Congress, confirmed the link between Chloracne and Agent Orange Exposure(Chou). Chloracne can be viewed as both a toxic outcome from exposure to TCDD andas a clinical marker (a measure of effect on a specifictreatment that may correlate with a real clinical endpoint (marker) but does not necessarily have aguaranteed relationship) for TCDD exposure. It’s a rare skin condition thathas an eruption of blackheads, fluid filled cysts, nodules (a growth of abnormal tissue), and dark body hair(Public health).

Mild cases of Chloracne begin with blackheads that are limitedto an area around the eyes, that extend along the temples and to the ears; in severe cases, blackheads appear inother places like the cheek bone area, along the arms, and behind the ears.  As the severity of this condition can lead toan abundant of open sores and permanent scars. This condition persistsfor a lifetime and currently has no cure and is highly resistant to anytreatment. A study was conducted on 2, 192 employees of Dow Chemical and MichiganDivision, where nearly 16% of the workers had the condition of Chloracne. Findings concluded that there was a significant difference in age at time of exposure (some menwent into the war at 18 compared to others who were drafted at an older age) thatshowed a higher risk of TCCD exposure. Another large study was conducted on 204workers of the Monsanto Company plant that produced half of the makeup of AgentOrange, 2, 4, 5-T.

Those workers had more than 53% of clinical evidence ofpersistent Chloracne. Another study examined workers 20 to 30 years afterinitial exposure of making 2, 4, 5-T, where 204 have been exposed, 163 have notbeen exposed, and 51 of questionable exposure. Out of the 204 exposed, 86%developed chloracne at some time after exposure, but 53% still had chloracne onexamination 20 to 30 years post exposure. But Chloracne was the least of theworries for Agent Orange victims.

Agent Orangeis made up of a 50/50 mixture of two individual herbicides known as 2, 4-D (dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and 2, 4, 5-T (trichlorophenoxyaceticacid). But due to a deliberatelyaccelerated production, Agent Orange was unintentionally contaminated with adioxin known as 2, 3, 7, 8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), which is “ known to be a humancarcinogen” (Chlorine Gone Wild). With TCDD being the most toxic ofdioxins and dioxin-like compounds, once it enters your body, it can last a verylong time due to the chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fattissue. Dioxin has a half-life in humans between 7 and 11 years (Agent OrangeRecord).  During this time, dioxin alters” the intricate cellular and chemical balances involved in maintaining goodhealth” (Chlorine Gone Wild). An average person living in an industrializednation typically has 3-7 pg/g (picograms/gram) of TCDD in their blood while theaverage Ranch Hand operative (Ranch Hand was the name of the Agent Orangespraying program that sprayed target areas in Vietnam with the toxicherbicides) has about 12. 2 pg/g of dioxin in their blood.

Where the higher thepg/g, the more of an increased risk of health problems one would encounter with1 in every 1000 chances of developing serious health risks (White).             Americabegan its involvement in Vietnam a decade before ground troops put their bootson the ground. In 1950, President Truman increased the amount of financial andmilitary assistance to the French forces fighting in Vietnam due to thesplitting of this nation (North and South Vietnam) (Role of the United States). Eventually the divisions in Vietnam escalated, causing American forces to sendground troops in 1965. Those groundtroops were there to stop the spread of communism.

America feared that the Domino Theory would come intoplay in Southeast Asia, where if one country fell to communism than the rest ofthe countries would fall too. A part of the military’s effort in Vietnam involvedovercoming the countries jungle-filled terrain. At first, Malathion (aninsecticide) was the only chemical that was sprayed adjacent to the SouthVietnamese cities and the 14 bases in Vietnam to help get rid of the mosquitosand bugs (Young). But as tensions grew, the use of six different herbicides wascommenced (Agent pink, Agent blue, Agent green, Agent purple, and Agent white). However, before these herbicides wereused as a chemical weapon, they were first used to destroy the forest and the crops; the key component of Agent Orange, 2, 4-D dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, began as a weed killer in 1945, butlater turned into Agent Orange (Frey 2). Even scientists had no knowledge orexperience with Agent Orange or the five other herbicides. Seven corporations (DowChemical, Monsanto, Diamond Shamrock, Hercules, T.

H. Agriculture &Nutrition, Thompson Chemicals, and Uniroyal) made these chemical herbicides as demandsfor this source grew many production facilities that were open for 24 hoursduring the Vietnam war (Frey). Such chemicals were now used as a militarystrategy to clear ground cover where the Vietcong were hidden. These chemicalswere sprayed from 1961 to 1971: in1961-1962 agents pink, green, and purple were the most common, between1962-1971 agent blue was used, and between 1965-1971 agent white and orange wereused (Frey 3). Agent Orange’s chemical makeup caused an outbreak that lead the Americansto question the governments choices. Agent Orange began as a weed killer but laterturned into the world’s deadliest chemical that proved to be the mostcoldblooded decision the American government has made as they approved the useand spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

The victims of this mass chemical warfare had comeface to face with reality: according to one Vietnamese citizen “ Vietnam is nowa country at peace … but the victims of Agent Orange will never live inpeace” (qtd. in Tuyet and Johansson).  WithAgent Orange being one of the deadliest toxins used in the Vietnam war, its effectscontinued as years passed against Vietnamese soldiers, American soldiers, andtheir children. Extensive studies have now persuasively linked America’s vastuse of Agent Orange to a witches’ brew of crippling and fatal ailments, includingdisabling skin diseases, horrendous birth defects, an increased risk for Graves’disease, and the deadliest form of prostate cancer.

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