News & Views » Columns

Orange crush

by

A few weeks back News Hits promised to keep y’all updated on a class-action lawsuit brought against the makers of Agent Orange, an herbicide used by the U.S. military to denude the jungles of Vietnam during our war there.

Vietnamese who say they are suffering ill health as a result of exposure to the defoliant, which contains the chemical dioxin, brought the suit. One of the most toxic substances known, dioxin has been linked to cancer, diabetes and birth defects. About 10,000 U.S. veterans receive disability benefits as a result of exposure to the substance.

In an attempt to protect our troops by removing the protective jungle cover used by enemy soldiers to conceal themselves, the U.S. military sprayed more than 21 million gallons of Agent Orange from 1962 to 1971.

However, in dismissing the suit, U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein found that the alleged victims could not prove that Agent Orange caused their medical problems, primarily because of a lack of large-scale research into the issue, according to an Associated Press report.

Among the chemical companies named in the suit was Dow Chemical, headquartered in Midland. There’s another local angle to this case as well. The roughly 4 million Vietnamese covered in this class action are represented by noted civil rights attorney and former Detroiter William H. Goodman. Now located in New York City, Goodman told reporters he would appeal Weinstein’s decision, saying the case could ultimately end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Critics, back-slappers and tipsters can contact the column at NewsHits@metrotimes.com

comment