a powerful herbicide and defoliant containing trace amounts of dioxin, a toxic impurity suspected of causing serious health problems, including cancer and genetic damage, in some persons exposed to it and birth defects in their offspring: used by U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War to defoliate jungles.
Origin of Agent Orange
First recorded in 1965–70; so called from the color of the identifying stripe on the drums in which it was stored
powerful defoliant used by U.S. military in the Vietnam War, attested from 1971, said to have been used from 1961; so called from the color strip on the side of the container, which distinguished it from Agent Blue, Agent White, etc., other herbicides used by the U.S. military. Banned from April 1970.
A mixture of equal amounts of two herbicides known as 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, and trace amounts of the toxic contaminant dioxin (a byproduct of the manufacture of 2,4,5-T). It was used in the Vietnam War to defoliate areas of forest.