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US court rejects appeals in Vietnam Agent Orange cases

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] Friday upheld [opinion, PDF] the dismissal [JURIST report] of a case brought by approximately three million Vietnamese plaintiffs against more than 30 American chemical companies for producing and supplying defoliants, including Agent Orange [VA materials, JURIST news archive], that US forces used during the Vietnam war. The Court also ruled Friday in another defoliant case brought against chemical companies by US veterans of the Vietnam war and their relatives, holding that the case had been properly removed to federal court and upholding [opinions, PDF] the district court's finding of summary judgment for the defendants.

Defoliants like Agent Orange were sprayed in Vietnam during the war to destroy forest cover and render crops unusable. The plaintiffs in these cases argued that the companies were aware that defoliants, which often contained dioxin [NIH backgrounder; WHO backgrounder] - a known teratogen and suspected carcinogen, were harmful but continued to supply the approximately 18 million gallons used by the US military in Vietnam. Reuters has more. Dow Jones Newswires has additional coverage.

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