Vietnam Demands That Monsanto Compensates Agent Orange Victims

Hanoi is demanding justice for the victims who were exposed to Agent Orange by the US military during the Vietnam War.

They are demanding compensation from the St. Louis-based company for the notorious chemical they supplied to the US army which caused millions of Vietnamese, over several generations, to suffer severe health problems and birth defects.

The move follows the unprecedented $289mn verdict against Monsanto in California.

Founded in 1901 in St Louis, Missouri, Monsanto began producing agrochemicals in the 1940s. It was acquired by Bayer for over $62 billion in June.

RT reports: After a San Francisco jury proved Monsanto not invincible and ordered the chemical giant to pay $289 million to a school worker who argued he got terminal cancer after using its Roundup herbicide, Vietnam has also demanded compensation from the St. Louis-based company.

“The verdict serves as a legal precedent which 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,” deputy foreign ministry spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Tra said Thursday. “Vietnam has suffered tremendous consequences from the war, especially with regard to the lasting and devastating effects of toxic chemicals, including Agent Orange.”

Around three million people in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange during a brutal chemical warfare campaign between 1961 and 1971, in which 12 million gallons of herbicide produced by Monsanto Corporation, among others, were dropped over the jungle to defoliate it. Because of such a high level of exposure to dioxin, a byproduct found in Agent Orange, millions of Vietnamese continue to suffer health conditions, often resulting in deformities which are passed through gene mutations to future generations.

Agent Orange victims in Vietnam’s central Da Nang City © Nguyen Huy Kham / Reuters

Monsanto, which has never acknowledged its role in the devastation, argues that Agent Orange “was only produced for, and used by, the government,” noting that Monsanto was just one of nine wartime government contractors who manufactured the same toxin from 1965 to 1969.