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Vietnam: $289M Verdict Against Monsanto Sets Precedent

The country wants Monsanto to pay for Agent Orange use
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2018 4:03 AM CDT
A warning sign stands in a field contaminated with dioxin near Danang airport in Vietnam.   (AP Photo/Maika Elan)
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(Newser) – Bayer may want to pop one of its namesake aspirins. In addition to facing some 8,000 lawsuits (at last count) claiming that glyphosate herbicides produced by Monsanto—a company that the drugmaker bought in June—cause cancer, Vietnam is now demanding compensation because of the use of another Monsanto product: the Vietnam War-era herbicide Agent Orange. The demand from Vietnam comes after a recent California verdict in the case of a former groundskeeper dying of cancer that put Monsanto on the hook for $289 million, the Independent reports. That verdict, a spokesman in Vietnam says, "refutes previous claims that the herbicides made by Monsanto and other chemical corporations in the US and provided for the US army in the war are harmless. Vietnam has suffered … lasting effects of toxic chemicals, including Agent Orange."

Some 12 million gallons of Agent Orange—so named after the orange stripe painted on the barrels that contained it— were dumped over Vietnam between 1961 and 1971 to defoliate the jungle, according to RT.com, exposing some three million people to the chemical dioxin, a toxic component of the herbicide linked to birth defects, cancer, and other health problems. Millions of Vietnamese still suffer, according to reports, and some related health problems are passed to future generations. In a statement on its website, Monsanto reiterates that it was among nine contractors to manufacture Agent Orange, adding that the government provided the recipe and determined when, where, and how it was used. (Read more Monsanto stories.)

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