August 10, 2012: The U.S. Government Announces Agent Orange Cleanup Program In Vietnam

The Vietnamese have long blamed the U.S. for contaminating their soil.

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On August 10, 2012, the United States government announced they would contribute to a clean up of the Agent Orange that it dumped on Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

The U.S. military had used the chemical compound during the war to kill trees and plants that blocked visibility. U.S. forces sprayed about12 million gallons of Agent Orange on southern Vietnam from 1961 to 1971. At the time, most military personnel, as well as the public, were told that the chemicals were harmless to people. In time, that was proven to be false. The chemical has proven to cause cancer, Parkinson's, heart disease and birth defects.  An estimated one million people in Vietnam still have health problems stemming from Agent Orange.

On August 10, the U.S. and Vietnamese governments treated a contaminated zone at an airport in the city of Danang. Soil was dug up and treated to break down dioxin, the toxic compound that Agent Orange is contaminated with. It is considered one of the most dangerous compounds to humans.

David Shear, the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, said at a ceremony for the airport effort, “We are both moving earth and taking the first steps to bury the legacies of our past."

This project is still going on to this very day, and is expected to end in 2018.

[Photo: Getty]

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