How America unleashed hell's agent in its own backyard: After Agent Orange left a trail of birth defects in Vietnam, a new film lays bare how the US sprayed it back home with devastating consequences | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

How America unleashed hell's agent in its own backyard: After Agent Orange left a trail of birth defects in Vietnam, a new film lays bare how the US sprayed it back home with devastating consequences

When Carol Van Strum moved to Five Rivers, Oregon, in 1974, she thought she had found the perfect rural idyll.

Surrounded by National Forest, her four young children could grow up close to nature. They loved fishing and playing by the river, fascinated by the little ‘dipper’ birds that sat on the rocks.

‘They knew everything that lived down there,’ she recalls. ‘There were beavers and otters in the river, and all the fish and herons and ospreys. So they just were part of that.’

Then one day the children fell sick, choking and gasping.

Down at the river, Carol found a scene of devastation — dead ducklings, crayfish and trout.

The cause seemed fairly obvious: a U.S. Forestry Service helicopter had been flying overhead the day before, spraying something over the land.

Nobody knew what it was but, ‘a lot of people assumed, “Well it’s the government doing it, it must be OK,” ’ says Carol. ‘We called the fire service and they said: “Oh no, it’s perfectly safe.” ’ But it wasn’t.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Agent Orange was developed in part at the University of Hawaii. During the research, two students were killed. The military tested Agent Orange on the Big Island and to this day there are large fenced-off areas where it is still too dangerous to enter.

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