About Agent Orange

Agent Orange was the code name given to one of the herbicides and defoliants sprayed during the Vietnam war by the United States Armed Forces. From 1962 to 1971, about 80 million liters (65% of which consisted of Agent Orange) were poured by airplanes, helicopters, and backpack sprayers over 20% of the total area of southern Vietnam. The purpose was to deprive the Vietcong guerilla and North Vietnamese troops of food and vegetation cover for concealment.

Agent Orange contains dioxin which is carcinogenic and teratogenic. The first generation of victims were the soldiers and farmers who lived on land sprayed with defoliants during the war. But because of its great stability dioxine goes on making victims among their descendents. According to recent estimations, between 2,1 and 4,8 million Vietnamese people were directly exposed to herbicides in the course of the war, and at least 800 000 suffer serious health problems today as a result. Over 100 000 Americans and their allied troops were also exposed to these defoliants.

American Veteran Associations have filed several lawsuits against the companies who produced Agent Orange. They obtained compensation (180 millions US dollars) for the veterans exposed to dioxin.

In 2004, the VAVA (Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin) also filed lawsuits which were dismissed on the ground that there was no legal basis for the plaintiffs' claims :
  • Agent Orange was not considered a poison under international law at the time of its use in Vietnam ;
  • the U.S. was not prohibited from using it as a herbicide ;
  • the companies which produced the substance were not liable for the method of its use by the US government.
The US government was not a party in the lawsuit, claiming sovereign immunity.

2/22/2008 : ONCE AGAIN, THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT HAS DISMISSED THE VAVA PLEA ON THE GROUND THAT DURING THE WAR IN VIETNAM, AGENT ORANGE WAS USED TO PROTECT UNITED STATES TROOPS AGAINST AMBUSH AND NOT A WEAPON OF WAR AGAINST HUMAN POPULATION.

3/2/2009 : THE SUPREME COURT OF JUSTICE HAS TURNED DOWN VIETNAMESE VICTIMS OF AGENT ORANGE WHO WANTED TO PURSUE LAWSUITS AGAINST COMPANIES THAT MADE THE TOXIC CHEMICAL DEFOLIANTUSED IN THE VIETNAM WAR.THE JUSTICES OFFER NO COMMENT ON THEIR ACTION.

To day, Vietnam is in great need. Help is needed to diagnose and treat medical disorders resulting from herbicide spraying. Disabled children need help. Funds are needed to clean areas which are known to be heavily contaminated with dioxin. More scientific studies are required on the medical effects of dioxin exposure on the Vietnamese population.

For more about agent orange, click on Links.

14/06/2017