Court Scraps Agent Orange Suit
Judge says chemical was used as a defoliant, not a weapon
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2008 3:17 PM CST
A physically and mentally disabled child sits on the steps of a hospital ward at a "peace village" center in the village of Thuy An, Vietnam, which houses people suffering from illnesses and deformities...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Vietnamese plaintiffs who say Agent Orange caused them serious health problems ran into a judicial dead end today. A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of a civil lawsuit over use of the defoliant in the Vietnam War. The suit claimed that Dow Chemical and other companies violated a ban on poisonous weapons and were responsible for millions of cases of birth defects and cancer, Reuters reports.

"Agent orange was used as a defoliant and not as a poison designed for or targeting human populations,” ruled the judge. American warplanes dropped roughly 18 million gallons of the chemical, but the US says there's no proven link with 3 million alleged cases of dioxin poisoning. The defendants applauded the decision and reiterated that the US and Vietnam governments should resolve such matters.