Agent Purple is the code name for a powerful herbicide and defoliant used by the U.S. military
in their Herbicidal Warfare program during the Vietnam War. The name comes from the purple
stripe painted on the barrels to identify the contents. It was one of the so-called "rainbow
herbicides" that included the more infamous Agent Orange. Agent Purple and Orange were also
used to clear brush in Canada.
Agent Purple is chemically similar to the better-known Agent Orange, consisting of a mixture of
the herbicides 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. It was later discovered that during the manufacture of 2,4,5-T
that Agents Orange and Purple were contaminated with varying levels of
tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), a dioxin that is a toxic and persistent substance. Agent Purple
is reputed to have three times the dioxin levels of Agent Orange, 45 parts per million as opposed
to 13 parts per million in Agent Orange.
Agent Purple was produced at the Hercules Chemical Plant in Jacksonville, Arkansas. This plant
is adjacent to Little Rock AFB. The affluent was delivered to the Little Rock AFB Fire
Department and was burned in training fires.
Agent Purple was used only in the earliest stages of the spraying program, between 1962 and
1965 as well as in earlier tests conducted by the US military outside of Vietnam.
500,000 gallons were sprayed in Vietnam total. (~1.9 million liters).
When the need to clear
brush around CFB Gagetown in Canada arose, quantities of Agent Purple and Agent Orange
were also sprayed there in a testing program during 1966 and 1967.
Agent Blue;(CH3)2AsO.·OH, obtained by the oxidation of cacodyl, and having the properties
of an exceedingly stable acid; is one of the "rainbow herbicides" that is known for its use by the
United States during the Vietnam War. Killing rice was a military strategy from the very start of
the US aggression in Vietnam. At first, US soldiers attempted to blow up rice paddies and rice
stocks, using mortars and grenades. But grains of rice were far more durable than they
understood, and were not easily destroyed. Every grain that survived was a seed, to be collected
and planted again. In a report to the International War Crimes Tribunal (founded by Bertrand
Russell) at the end of 1967, it was stated that: "The soldiers discovered that rice is one of the
most maddeningly difficult substances to destroy; using thermite metal grenades it is almost
impossible to make it burn and, even if one succeeds in scattering the rice, this does not stop it
being harvested by patient men. 
. So they went to a bigger and better option that will actually
kill off the paddies. The purpose of Agent Blue was narrow-leaf plants and trees (grass, rice,
bamboo, banana, etc.) "Operation Ranch Hand", was military code for spraying of herbicides
from U.S. Air Force aircraft in Southeast Asia from 1962 through 1971.
The widespread use of
herbicides in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War was a very unique military operation in
that it was meant to kill the plants that provided cover. The continued use of Agent Blue, one of
the “Rainbow Herbicides”, by the United States was primarily meant as an operation to take
away the enemy’s advantage on the terrain as well as deprive them of the resources they gained
from the plantlife. Between 1962 and 1971, the US used an estimated 20 million gallons of
herbicides as chemical weapons for "defoliation and crop destruction" which fell mostly on the
forest of South Vietnam, but was eventually used in Laos as well to kill crops in order to deprive
the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops of food. It was sprayed on rice paddies and other
crops in an attempt to deprive the Viet Cong of the valuable crops the plants provided. Unable to
control the Viet Minh's access to food supplies or their grassroots village support, the US
military response was simple: If you can't control it, kill it. By starving the plants of water this
would cause the enemies to starve because the plants were not able to obtain water to survive.
Agent Blue is a mixture of two arsenic-containing compounds, sodium
cacodylate and cacodylic acid. Agent Blue is chemically unrelated to the more
infamous Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the war.
As rice is incredibly durable, and difficult to destroy with conventional explosives, and does not
burn, the weapon of choice was herbicides. Agent Blue affects plants by causing them to dry out.
As rice is highly dependent on water to live, using Agent Blue on these paddies can destroy an
entire field and leave it unsuitable for further planting. This is why Agent Blue was also used
where food was not a factor, but foliage was. The Viet Cong had an advantage while fighting in
Vietnam because they were used to the abundance of plant life on the battlefield. The US found
themselves at a disadvantage and decided that the best retaliation would be to take the Viet
Cong's advantage away from them by removing their cover. Along roads, canals, railroads, and
other transportation networks, Ranch Hand cleared several hundred yards using the herbicides to
make ambushes more difficult for their enemies. In Laos, the herbicide removed the jungle
canopy from the roads and trails used for infiltrating men and supplies, making them more
vulnerable to attack from the air.
Approximately 19.6 million gallons of Agent Blue were used in Vietnam during the war,
destroying 500,000 acres (2,000 km2
) of crops.
From 1965 on the Ansul Chemical
Company delivered the herbicide Phytar 560 with the 26.4% sodium cacodylate and 4.7%
cacodylic acid in water.
Today, large quantities of the chemical named Agent Blue are still used on lawns and crops
throughout the USA. Taken from ZNet Ecology 
:. It has been over twelve years since the last
herbicide mission that was done. But there is still big controversy going around about the past
missions that were sent out.
Agent Blue and White are the least effective of all the herbicides.
“ Arsenical herbicides containing cacodylic acid as an active ingredient are still used today as
weed-killers. In the US they are used extensively, from golf courses to backyards. They are
also sprayed on cotton fields, drying out the cotton plants before harvesting. So common --
and so profitable -- is the original commercial form of Agent Blue that it was among 10
toxic insecticides, fungicides and herbicides partially deregulated by the US Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) in February 2004. Specific limits on toxic residues in meat, milk,
poultry, and eggs were removed.
Agent White is the code name for a powerful herbicide and defoliant used by the U.S. military
in its Herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War. The name comes from the white
stripe painted on the barrels to identify the contents. It was one of the so-called "rainbow
herbicides" that included the more infamous Agent Orange.
Agent White is a 4:1 mixture of 2,4-D and Picloram (also known as Tordon
101). Unlike the more infamous Agent Orange, Agent White did not contain dioxin, which was
a contaminant in the defoliants that included 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T).
However, it appears the Picloram was contaminated with hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and
nitrosamines, both known carcinogens. Agent White was a proprietary product of the Dow
Chemical Company. Around 1985, Dow Chemical was forced to re-certify Picloram after having
greatly reduced the amounts of both contaminants.
Agent White was often used when Agent Orange was not available, including for several months
after the use of Agent Orange was halted in April 1970. Approximately 5.4 million US gallons
) of Agent White was used in Vietnam between 1966 and 1971.
In addition the US
Military tested Agent White, Tordon 101 and Picloram in varying concentrations at test sites in
the US and Puerto Rico in the 1960s.
Agent Green is the code name for a powerful herbicide and defoliant used by
the U.S. military in its Herbicidal Warfare program during the Vietnam War.
The name comes from the green stripe painted on the barrels to identify the
contents. It was one of the so-called "rainbow herbicides" that included the
more infamous Agent Orange. Agent Green was only used between 1962 and
1964, during the early "testing" stages of the spraying program.
Agent Green was mixed with Agent Pink and used for crop destruction. A total of 20,000 gallons
of Agent Green were procured.
Agent Green's only active ingredient was 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), one of
the common phenoxy herbicides of the era. It was later learned that a dioxin, 2,3,7,8-
tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin (TCDD), is produced as a side effect of the manufacture of 2,4,5-
T, and was thus present in any of the herbicides that used it. Owing to Agent Green's consisting
entirely of 2,4,5-T, along with the similar Agent Pink, it contained many times the level of dioxin
found in Agent Orange.
The fungus Fusarium oxysporum is also referred to as Agent Green. “Agent Green” is a phrase
currently used to refer to at least two different fungi, called “mycoherbicides.” The United States
government wants to use these fungi in its “War on Drugs.” What they have in common is that
they are both being promoted by the US-led United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) as
part of a global plan for the eradication of illicit crops. This plan is known by the name SCOPE
(Strategy for Coca and Opium Poppy Elimination). In 1998 the UN General Assembly explicitly
rejected SCOPE, but the UNDCP continues to support research into these biological agents with
The US denies the categorization of these organisms as “biological weapons,” preferring to call
them “biological controls” and noting that under the United Nations’ Biological and Toxic
Weapons Convention, they are legitimate if they are approved by the government of the land in
which they are used.
The chemicals, such as “Agent Green” were used most infamously in Vietnam as a part of
“Operation Ranch Hand.” Millions of people were effected and are being effected today. It is
estimated that over a half of a million Vietnamese children have been born with birth defects that
can be directly attributed to dioxin poisoning, dioxin being a prime contaminant of “Agent
During much of the fighting in the Vietnam War, chemical agents were used by the United States
to defoliate the landscape. Although many different chemical agents were used, the most
infamous was most decidedly “Agent Orange,” one of the “Rainbow Herbicides.”
Agent Orange is the common name used for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by
the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during
the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. It was given its name from the color of the orange-
striped 55 US gallon (208 litre) barrels in which it was shipped, and was the most widely
used of the so-called "Rainbow Herbicides".
A 50:50 mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, it was
manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and
Dow Chemical. The 2,4,5-T used to produce Agent Orange was later discovered to be
contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, an extremely toxic dioxin compound.
Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth
During the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1971, the United States military sprayed nearly
20,000,000 US gallons (80,000,000 l) of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants
mixed with jet fuel in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia, as part of Operation Ranch
The program's goal was to defoliate forested and rural land, depriving guerrillas of
cover; another goal was to induce forced draft urbanization, destroying the ability of peasants to
support themselves in the countryside, and forcing them to flee to the U.S. dominated cities, thus
depriving the guerrillas of their rural support base and food supply.
The US began to target food crops in October 1962, primarily using Agent Blue. In 1965, 42
percent of all herbicide spraying was dedicated to food crops.
Rural-to-urban migration rates
dramatically increased in South Vietnam, as peasants escaped the destruction and famine in the
countryside by fleeing to the U.S.-dominated cities. The urban population in South Vietnam
nearly tripled: from 2.8 million people in 1958, to 8 million by 1971. The rapid flow of people
led to a fast-paced and uncontrolled urbanization; an estimated 1.5 million people were living in
United States Air Force records show that at least 6,542 spraying missions took place over the
course of Operation Ranch Hand.
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 USDA application rate for domestic use.
In South Vietnam alone, an estimated
10 million hectares of agricultural land were ultimately destroyed.
In some areas TCDD
concentrations in soil and water were hundreds of times greater than the levels considered "safe"
by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Overall, more than 20% of South Vietnam's
forests were sprayed at least once over a nine year period.