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Vietnam, U.S. begin historic Agent Orange cleanup

Published: August 9, 2012
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Source: AFP



From deformed infants to grandparents with cancer, families near Vietnam’s Danang Airbase have long blamed the toxic legacy of war for their ills. Now after a decades-long wait, a historic “Agent Orange” clean-up is finally beginning.

The base was a key site in the US defoliant program during the Vietnam War, and much of the 80 million litres (21 million gallons) of Agent Orange used during “Operation Ranch Hand” was mixed, stored and loaded onto planes there.

But on Thursday, the US and Vietnam began a long-awaited joint cleanup effort at the site — using technology which will heat the contaminated soil to temperatures high enough to break dioxin down into harmless compounds.

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