LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
It is best known for being one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange, the defoliant used by the US military during the Vietnam War. It mimics the activity of the plant hormone auxin, causing uncontrolled growth that leads to loss of leaves. Although it is not particularly toxic itself, it is always found contaminated with highly toxic dioxins, which was the reason for its withdrawal. Atoms are colour-coded: carbon (grey), chlorine (green), oxygen (red) and hydrogen (white).
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