In re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation (1979-1984)
In the legal case In re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation of the early 1980s, US military veterans of the Vietnam War sued the US chemical companies that had produced the herbicide Agent Orange, and those companies settled with US veterans out of court. Agent Orange contains dioxin, a chemical later shown to disrupt the hormone system of the body and to cause cancer. As veterans returned to the US from Vietnam, scientists further confirmed that exposure to Agent Orange caused a variety of cancers in veterans and developmental problems in the veterans' children. The veterans and their families held the chemical manufactures of Agent Orange liable for their injuries and the injuries to their children. The chemical companies settled the case out of court in 1984 for $180 million, to be used for medical expenses or compensation for death relating to veterans' exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange's use in the Vietnam War affected close to ten million people in the US, including members of the US military directly exposed to it, and their children conceived years after direct exposure.