Viet vets file state suit against defoliant makers

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A group of Vietnam veterans has filed a class-action lawsuit against 10 manufacturers of Agent Orange, claiming that exposure to the defoliant has affected them and their families and will do so for years to come.

A federal suit had been filed in Westbury, N.Y., on behalf of all Vietnam veterans. An attorney for the Colorado group said the state suit was filed in case problems developed with the national suit.

The Colorado suit requested that the assets of the defendants be placed into a trust fund to compensate victims and their families for physical and emotional injuries resulting from the exposure. The class action claims manufacturers were negligent in not warning veterans of the possible effects of exposure.

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Representatives of Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto Company, the manufacturers named in the suit, both denied responsibility. Monsanto spokesman Dan Bishop said a substantial amount of medical evidence on record says there is no link between Agent Orange and the health problems claimed by the veterans.

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