News In Brief

$10 billion lawsuit begun on Agent Orange by Viet vets

Thousands of Vietnam veterans have launched a $10 billion lawsuit against the federal government, charging it could have done more to protect and treat servicemen exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange.

This spring a $180 million tentative settlement was negotiated in a class-action against the seven chemical companies that produced Agent Orange. The veterans claimed the companies knew Agent Orange was dangerous but failed to tell the government. The new suit maintains the government nevertheless knew by the late '60s but failed to act.

Agent Orange is a herbicides mixture that was sprayed over large parts of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam war to deprive communist forces of jungle cover and food crops. It is now believed to have been contaminated with a highly toxic form of dioxin.

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