AGENT ORANGE VICTIMS

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vietnam service

The Facts & History About Agent Orange During The Vietnam War

Agent Orange is the name to which all herbicides are referred (technically) in error during the Vietnam War. The name, Agent Orange, has become synonymous for, and collective of, all herbicides used during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange, is also the identification of the harmful effects from herbicides (again, in error). The reality is that people don't have Agent Orange disease, rather, a disease, or cancer caused directly or indirectly from exposure to a herbicide containing dioxin. The name, Agent Orange, was derived from the orange stripe on drums in which the herbicide was stored.

Agent Orange (Scientifically)

Agent Orange was one of several defoliants (herbicides) containing trace amounts of a toxic contaminant, TCDD (dioxin). Defoliants were used during the Vietnam War to kill vast areas of jungle growth. The real, Agent Orange, was a 1:1 mixture of the n-butyl esters of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T). A byproduct contaminant of the manufacturing process for 2,4,5-T (used in all the agents during the Vietnam War) is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin (TCDD). TCDD is commonly referred to as dioxin.

This chart contains a list of the herbicides (agents) used during the Vietnam War, and the amount of TCDD (dioxin) contamination present in the agents (per the USAF Herb Tapes):

 

Brief History of Agent Orange

In the early years of WWII, a grant was provided by the National Research Council to develop a chemical to destroy rice crops in Japan (the major food source of the Japanese). 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T (Agent Orange) was the result. A discussion between President Roosevelt and White House Chief of Staff, Admiral William D. Leahy determined that this heinous chemical should not be used. Agent Orange was not used during WWII.

In 1961, President Kennedy signed two orders allowing Agent Orange to be used in Vietnam. One order to destroy crops, and another order to defoliate the jungle. [Note: These orders were signed prior to major U.S. intervention.]

Agent Orange & other herbicides were used extensively thru 1970 (and thereafter until the end of the Vietnam War).

 

 

Grand Total: 8,165,491 Gallons Were Sprayed

South Vietnam Quadrants: I Corp II Corp III Corp IV Corp

I Corps - 2,355,322

Location

Orange White Blue Total Gallons

A Shau

53,550 2,550 6,128

62,228

An Hoa

6,500 1,800 11,250

19,550

Binh Hoa

8,220 0 1,600

9,820

Cam Lo

80,375 8,660 12,785

101,820

Camp Carrol

78,200 5,400 5,050

88,650

Camp Eagle

14,250 0 0

14,250

Camp Esso

53,410 5,600 0

64,510

Camp Evans

18,690 0 880

19,570

Camp Henderson

68,155 7,040 4,800

79,995

Chu Lai

12,170 4,150 1,598

17,918

Con Thien

84,700 12,460 10,925

108,085

Da Nang, China Beach

13,800 0 2,000

15,800

Dong Ha

54,385 5,060 9,935

69,380

Duc Pho, LZ Bronco

46,225 14,400 1,175

61,800

Firebase Jack

140,875 11,900 3,280

156,055

Firebase Rakkassan

150,145 23,900 2,510

176,555

Firebase West

15,405 3,690 18,480

37,575

Hill 63

20,500 3,200 0

23,700

Hill 69

11,620 4,150 1,598

17,368

Hoi An

17,520 3,000 13,950

34,470

Hue

41,395 0 5,070

46,465

Khe Sanh, Firebase Smith

43,705 3,040 4,300

51,045

LangCo Bridge

50,610 5,600 3,500

59,710

LZ Baldy

15,430 3,000 13,950

32,380

LZ Dogpatch, Hill 327

4,490 0 8,250

12,740

LZ Geronimo

22,535 14,000 468

37,003

LZ Jane, Firebase Barbara

91,150 6,750 3,700

101,600

LZ Langley, Firebase Shepard

72,105 7,040 4,800

83,945

LZ Profess, Hill 55

39,300 13,000 17,209

69,509

LZ Rockcrusher, Hill 85

47,800 0 0

47,800

LZ Rockpile

110,050 15,440 7,650

133,140

LZ Ross

15,405 6,720 18,508

40,633

LZ Sandra

118,780 20,210 24,755

163,745

LZ Snapper, Firebase Leather

11,350 0 3,000

14,350

Marble, Hill 59

15,405 6,720 18,508

40,633

Phu Bai

54,300 3,000 120

57,420

Phu Luc, LZ Tommahawk

78,250 4,000 0

82,250

Quang Nai

25,605 0 1,800

27,405

Quang Tri, LZ Nancy

68,000 2,750 3,700

74,450

2,355,322

II Corps - 1,054,406

Location         Orange White Blue Total Gallons
An Khe, Camp Radcliff 37,810 6,400 5,610

49,820

An Lao, LZ Laramie 68,970 490 10,570

80,030

Ban Me Thuot 16,000 9,250 0

25,250

Ben Het 80,495 7,230 3,000

90,725

Bon Song, LZ Two Bits 80,643 630 6,000

87,273

Bre Nhi 6,600 0 0

6,600

Cam Ranh Bay 21,227 1,373 0

22,600

Camp Granite 59,310 2,075 5,390

66,775

Che Oreo 0 1,800 0

1,800

Da Lat 575 0 0

575

Dak To 49,460 600 34,800

84,860

Firebase Pony 43,490 0 3,800

47,290

Kontum 0 415 0

415

LZ Dog, LZ English 63,073 630 6,000

69,703

LZ Oasis No Data
LZ Putter, Firebase Bird 50,095 0 7,200

57,295

LZ Uplift 43,455 3,220 275

46,950

Nha Trang 6,950 325 0

7,275

Phan Rang 110 2,075 0

2,185

Phan Thiet 5,000 330 220

5,550

Plei Ho, SF Camp 15,300 1,260 110

16,670

Plei Jerang 98,220 51,235 1,800

151,255

Pleiku 1,210 11,640 1,950

14,800

Puh Cat, LZ Hammond 29,700 7,210 0

36,910

Qui Nhon 53,215 1,800 4,125

59,140

Song Cau 5,650 55 0

5,705

Tuy An 13,215 3,740 0

16,955

Tuy Hoa 29,565 4,485 0

34,050

1,054,406

III Corps - 4,086,229

Location

Orange White Blue Total Gallons

An Loc

77,000 79,830 0

156,830

Ben Cat

87,250 83,640 20,105

190,995

Ben Hoa

35,045 124,525 3,950

163,520

Cholon

320 0 0

320

Cu Chi

59,150 67,540 14,105

140,795

Dau Tieng (Michelin)

32,370 45,800 3,800

81,770

Dien Duc, Firebase Elaine

66,850 25,800 0

92,350

Duc Hoa

750 0 0

750

Firebase Di An

6,000 0 1,595

7,595

Firebase Frenzel

13,445 57,560 900

71,905

Firebase Jewel, LZ Snuffy

219,550 146,010 7,300

372,860

Firebase Mace

34,280 23,350 730

58,360

Katum

299,420 239,395 20,000

558,815

Lai Khe

57,120 22,300 1,800

81,220

Loc Ninh

46,660 103,710 1,800

152,170

Long Binh, Firebase Concord

13,445 57,560 0

71,005

LZ Bearcat

17,840 75,470 0

93,310

LZ Fish Nook

44,000 23,800 0

67,800

LZ Schofield

38,640 17,210 7,800

63,650

Nha Be (Navy Base)

119,725 121,925 6,000

247,650

Nui Ba Den, Firebase Carolin

50,020 66,500 2,100

118,620

Phouc Vinh

484,383 146,576 12,810

643,769

Phu Chong

39,848 62,230 12,055

114,130

Phu Loi

79,000 83,430 0

162,430

Qua Viet

50,610 5,600 3,500

59,710

Quan Loi

44,190 34,300 0

78,490

Saigon

No Data

Song Be

1,900 9,220 0

11,120

Tan Son Nhut

6,320 0 1,595

7,915

Tay Ninh

720 3,225 600

4,545

Trang Bang

32,365 39,560 6,000

77,925

Vo Dat, Firebase Nancy

14,180 29,100 0

43,280

Vung Tau

7,350 0 0

7,350

Xuan Loc

23,865 58,750 660

83,275

4,086,229

IV Corps - 669,534

Location

Orange White Blue Total Gallons

Ben Luc

45,900 14,838 0

60,738

Ben Tre

24,800 24,750 0

49,550

Can Tho

15,160 13,915 11,685

40,760

Cao Lanh

1,875 2,935 830

5,640

Dong Tam

5,870 605 165

6,640

Firebase Grand Can(yon?)

0 1,540 0

1,540

Firebase Moore

9,820 0 0

9,820

Ham Long

3,275 1,620 0

4,895

Moc Hoa

12,400 6,590 0

18,990

My Tho

13,320 7,316 965

21,601

Nam Can

150,345 64,295 0

214,640

Phnom

0 184 0

184

Phu Quoc

19,000 0 0

19,000

Rach Gia

0 2,155 0

2,155

Seafloat

4,700 0 0

4,700

Soc Trang

3,410 2,391 1,280

7,081

Tan An

89,550 36,450 0

126,000

Tieu Con

8,700 0 0

8,700

Tra Vinh

9,885 8,000 0

17,885

Vinh Loi

30,010 0 0

30,010

Vinh Long

8,360 9,755 890

19,005

669,534

* Indicates some of the places that Casper Platoon flew missions to.

 

Note: This does NOT include US Army helicopter or ground applications, or any form of the insecticide programs by GVN, or the US military. The amount represents gallons within eight (8) kilometers of the area. Thus, each area is 9.6 miles in diameter.

 

Description TCDD (Dioxin) Amounts

Agent Orange

1.77 to 40 ppm

Agent Blue (Purple)

32.8 to 45 ppm

Agent Red (Pink)

65.6 ppm

Agent White (Green)

65.6 ppm

Silvex

1 to 70 ppm

2,4,5-T (Current)

0.1 ppm or less

Background on Agent Orange

Agent Orange in South Vietnam


The jungles of South Vietnam were ideally suited for providing enemy cover for the guerilla tactics employed by troops battling South Vietnamese, American, and other allied forces during the Vietnam War. To offset ambush attacks and protect allied forces, the U.S. military sought to defoliate combat areas by developing and using the herbicide Agent Orange.

The defoliant sprayed between 1965-1970 was a 50/50 mixture of the herbicides 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. U.S. military research developed Agent Orange, and the product was formulated based on military specifications.

Code named by the orange identification band painted on the 55-gallon storage drum, Agent Orange was usually sprayed from fixed wing C-123 military aircraft. The total amount of Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War herbicide program is estimated at approximately 11 million gallons.

The Development of Agent Orange


As a nation at war, the U.S. government compelled a number of companies to produce Agent Orange under the Defense Production Act. Companies supplying Agent Orange to the government included The Dow Chemical Company, Monsanto Company, Hercules Inc., Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Company, Uniroyal Inc., Thompson Chemical and T-H Agriculture and Nutrition Company.

Agent Orange was only manufactured for delivery to the U.S. government for military use. The product was never manufactured or sold for commercial purposes. After Agent Orange was manufactured and packaged as ordered by the U.S. government, the U.S. military took immediate and complete control of Agent Orange at the government contractors' manufacturing facilities in the U.S.

The U.S. military had sole control and responsibility for the transportation of Agent Orange to Vietnam , and for its storage once the defoliant reached Vietnam . The U.S. military controlled how, where, and when Agent Orange would be used.

Agent Orange and Dioxin


Much of the source of the resulting public controversy over Agent Orange was an unwanted trace impurity that was present in one of the product's ingredients. The unwanted contaminant was the dioxin compound 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin, commonly known as 2,3,7,8 or dioxin. It should be noted that dioxin was not a commercial product, but rather was an unavoidable manufacturing process contaminant in the 2,4,5-T process. Considerable controversy surrounds dioxin even today, primarily because of its high acute toxicity in animals. Dioxin has been shown to cause a number of serious conditions in laboratory animals, including birth defects and cancer. Dioxin's effects on humans, however, are not nearly so clear. Dioxin has been shown to cause a serious skin disorder known as chloracne and reversible signs of toxicity in workers accidentally exposed to extremely high levels on the job. In spite of the acknowledged toxicity to animals, there continues to be much scientific controversy and varying scientific opinion about what harm it may or may not have caused people especially at the trace levels present in herbicides. Today, the scientific consensus is that when the collective human evidence is reviewed, it doesn't show that Agent Orange caused the veterans' illnesses.

It should also be noted that no increase in the risk of cancer has been observed among the most highly exposed veterans. Despite this, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs accepts several "presumptively service-connected" diseases or conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure.

Agent Orange and the 1984 Class-Action Settlement


Beginning in 1978, hundreds of individual suits and class actions were brought in the U.S. on behalf of the 2.5 million veterans who served in Vietnam and their families against the companies that manufactured Agent Orange. Those lawsuits claimed that exposure to Agent Orange had caused a number of veterans to suffer a wide variety of illnesses. In time, these cases were consolidated before Federal Judge Jack Weinstein of the Eastern District Court in New York .

In May 1984, on the eve of the trial, Judge Weinstein facilitated a settlement between the companies and the veterans. As the Eastern District Court later explained, the plaintiffs were facing near-certain defeat. The veterans were unable to prove that Agent Orange was likely to cause any disease and they were unable to establish the level of any individual veteran's exposure to Agent Orange.

Despite the weakness of the plaintiffs' claims, defendants were willing to pay $180 million to settle the lawsuit to end years of potential litigation and globally resolve the issue for less the cost of defense. In addition, the settlement included all potential future Agent Orange claims. The district court then held a number of settlement hearings throughout the U.S. and approved the settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate.

Post 1984 Settlement


Since the 1984 Agent Orange settlement, all suits brought by veterans in the U.S. , including those who opted out of the class action settlement, had been routinely dismissed at the trial court level in favor of the manufacturers. For 17 years, U.S. appellate courts had upheld all such dismissals.

However, in November 2001, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court reversed and remanded an Eastern District Court decision involving two plaintiffs Joe Isaacson and Daniel Stephenson who were seeking status outside the Agent Orange class action settlement. These plaintiffs argued that it would be unfair to enforce the settlement in their cases as they claim their illnesses were manifested after the 1984 settlement, and after the settlement funds were exhausted. Finally, these plaintiffs argued that their claims were unique and that they were inadequately represented in the 1984 class action settlement.

Left unchallenged, this ruling meant finality and certainty in the context of class action settlements could not be obtained and complex legal matters could never be fully resolved. Settlements are compromises intended to secure legal peace. This decision meant no settlement would ever be lasting and the mechanism of using class action settlements to end future claims would be lost. For this reason, the manufacturers who had previously settled this dispute in 1984 sought review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court granted the manufacturers' request with a hearing on February 26, 2003 and subsequent decision on June 9, 2003.

In the 4-4 split decision, the Supreme Court allowed a lower court ruling to stand that says a 1984 global settlement involving the companies the U.S. military asked to make Agent Orange during the Vietnam War does not bar a Vietnam veteran (Daniel Stephenson) from pursuing claims against those companies. The Court also vacated a second veteran's (Joe Isaacson) case and remanded the case to determine if it could be heard in U.S. Federal Court.

The case is now proceeding in the trial court, with U.S. District Court (Eastern District of New York ) Judge Jack Weinstein presiding.

Post 2003 Supreme Court Ruling


The Supreme Court ruling means that some veterans who claim they developed illnesses after the 1984 funds were exhausted may file claims against the manufacturers. It is important to note that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling was on a procedural matter concerning whether or not future claims of Agent Orange class members were barred from bringing any claims against the manufacturers versus a ruling on the merits of Agent Orange claims and the manufacturers' defenses. Isaacson and Stephenson claimed that they had never had the opportunity to benefit from the settlement and that their interests could not have been adequately represented when the settlement was negotiated. U.S. District Court (Eastern District of New York ) Judge Weinstein found that there was no real conflict of interest between presently injured class members and those who might develop injuries in the future because all such claims were without merit and would have been dismissed.

The Second Circuit Court concluded that the post-1994 (when the funds were exhausted) future claimants had not been adequately represented because the settlement "only provided for recovery for those whose death and disability was discovered prior to 1994." The Supreme Courts 4-4 split, in essence, failed to decide this case and allows the Second Circuit Court's decision to stand.

However, any new claims would be subject to dismissal under the government contract defense and on other legal grounds such as inability to prove causation. Judge Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has ruled in the past that the manufacturers are entitled to summary judgment on the government contract defense and the Court of Appeals has affirmed. The manufacturers are confident that this litigation will ultimately be dismissed.

In Conclusion


War damages people, lives, and the environment. Nations, and the militaries of nations, are responsible for war. The U.S. government and the Vietnamese government are responsible for military acts in Vietnam and the use of Agent Orange as a defoliant. The manufacturers feel that in 1984 they took part in a good-faith settlement aimed at healing and bringing closure to this issue. Any future issues involving Agent Orange should be the responsibility of the respective governments as a matter of political and social policy.

 

 

 




The Alvin L. Young Collection on Agent Orange








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