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. (Read more Vietnam War stories.)