Agent Orange

What is Agent Orange?

herbicidesAgent orange refers to a synthetic herbicide made up of a combination of two synthetics auxins; 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T,) in equal proportions.

Also known as herbicide orange, this herbicide is also a defoliant, meaning it causes shedding of leaves when sprayed onto a plant. This agent, bearing historical significance, was formulated as a herbicidal weapon, together with other herbicides such as Agent Blue, Pink, White, Green, Purple, collectively known as the rainbow herbicides, to be employed during the world war II.


First employed in the Malayan Guerrilla war from 1948-1960 by the British, the herbicide was used to destroy the crops and trees of the insurgents fighting for communism in Malaya. It was then employed in the Vietnam War by the United States in 1961, under the codename of operation Ranch Hand.

However, a toxic dioxin compound known as 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD) was added to the herbicide; and is believed to be responsible for the adverse effects that followed its use.

With over four and a half million acres sprayed and greater than nineteen million gallons used, the ecological as well as health impacts, on both the Vietnamese (civilians and fighters) as well as the US veterans that served in the military personnel during the operation and had come into contact with the herbicide, were catastrophic.

Harmful negative effects

Exposure of the large quantities of Agent Orange resulted in numerous health implications. Congenital malformations such as the cleft palate and polydactyly, where extra toes or fingers are formed, were reported. Other effects such as mental disabilities, hernia as well as rashes were also noted.

The toxic dioxin adjunct that was added was found to persist in the blood of the military personnel serving the United States and in the Vietnamese women’s breast milk as well. This dioxin was associated with a myriad of health issues ranging from disorders of the nervous system, congenital defects, inflammatory disorders, muscular dysfunction, as well as raising the susceptibility to various cancers.

A number of cancers were linked to Agent Orange exposure in the veterans. These cancers included; leukemia, lymphomas, soft tissue sarcoma, cancers of the colon, cancers of the lung as well as cancers of the prostate. Other conditions that affected the veterans included rashes, miscarriages, psychological symptoms as well as skin irritations.

Classification of herbicides

The use of this herbicide also had the ecological implications. With about 18 percent of the forest cover sprayed, most of the trees were replaced by plants such as bamboo, which were indigenous to Vietnam and were highly aggressive as well.

Animal species reduction was also reported, with mammalian as well as bird species, being affected. The persistence of the toxic dioxin in the soils also meant that the reforestation efforts were severely hampered. Use best pesticides to save envernoment and your home from bed bugs.

Finally, various legal issues have subsequently followed, due to the devastating health effects of this herbicide. Out of court settlements have been done by the chemical companies responsible for the manufacture of the herbicide, but various challenges still arose during this settlement.

An act, the Agent Orange Act, was also passed into law by President George Bush that gave the authority to treat conditions such as chloracne and soft tissue sarcoma resulting from exposure to this herbicide.

Harmful effects on bees from the use of Roundup

The effects of roundup on the environment and the ultimate effects of insecticides on the dwindling honeybee population

Harmful effects on beesResearch and studies conducted by many organisations in the world have been able to sight a connection between the herbicide Roundup and the large decline in honeybee population mainly in Europe. It has been observed that the main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate has negatively affected the normal behavior of honeybees. Investigations are being carried out to analyse whether roundup does have a effect on honeybee’s feeding behavior.

Observations have been made that glyphosate have affected honeybee’s sensitivity to nectar and have impaired their learning capabilities. Researches have also proven that when exposed to a high dosage of glyphostae, honeybee’s elemental learning, short term memory retention and non elemental associate learning has decreased dramatically. There are many harmful effects of roundup, insecticides on bees and this mainly due to their ingredients.

Roundup has helped farmers to eliminate weeds from their farms which is a success. But nowadays, farmers use these herbicides to kill even the weed in the fences which the bees have their foraging. This reduce and limits the available bee forage and kills the pollinators. It is said that every bite of three bites of food what we eat is gained from a crop which is pollinated by honeybees. With all these in consideration, honeybee population has been in a major decline in recent years.

insecticides on bees

This decline has been named as Colony Collapse Disorder, and researches are been carried out extensively to find out answers for it. Farmers have been using roundup which has the ingredient glyphosate without a control since it has answered their query of weed killing. This has lead to a huge increase of this herbicides use and hence effected the honeybees dwellings. Studies have showed that the glyphosate remains chemically unchanged for a period of at least an year. Use best and safe pesticides for home use to get rid of bed bugs.

When honeybees are exposed to this ingredient glyphosate, they do not die immediately. Hence they bring this chemical back to their hives, by this, the larvae will come into contact with this chemical. This results in new honeybees having a lesser overall foraging rate, which tallies with a long term effect on colony performances. All these facts adds up together in destruction of colonies, and they will disappear as a result of this cycle ultimately.

harmful effects of roundup

Although roundup was brought in as an answer to increase crop production, this has resulted in a loss of pollinators such as the honeybees which has a drastic negative effect on world food supply. The drastic death of honeybees and dramatic reduction in colonies have negatively affected the whole global food supply and it can only be corrected by sustaining the colonies and the honeybees.

Even after studies proving that chemicals such as roundup have harmful effects on honeybees, not many steps have been taken to reduce the use of it. Honeybees have showed a reduced sensitivity to sucrose and the learning performance when they were exposed towards recommended dosages of roundup which has the ingredient glyphosate. This shows that standard spraying of roundup in fields will decrease the sensitivity towards nectar and impair the honeybee’s associate learning ability.