Agent Orange in our Backyards

Dioxin hotspots from the production, use and storage of Agent Orange and other dioxin contaminated defoliants are not limited to Vietnam. Dow, Monsanto, Diamond Shamrock, Hercules and the other producers of 2,4,5 T left behind their own legacies of war right in our own backyards. Some of these sites have been designated as Super Fund sites or brownfields and are in various stages of clean-up and containment. However many of them, particular the sites located on current or former military bases or downstream from the plant locations, have not been properly addressed.

Dioxin from the production of 2,4,5  - T during the war year is still impacting communities throughout the United States, thirty to forty years after the production ended. Residents of Saginaw, Michigan located downstream from Dow Chemical have been told by MI Environmental Protection Agency that their lawns are so contaminated they must wear gloves and masks when they are outside and take off and wash their clothes immediately when they come inside. Hunters and fishermen in MI are told it is not safe to eat the ducks, fish and internal organs of the deer they kill. Residents of Gulfport, Mississippi have been fighting local officials and the military for years to look into the high rates of cancers and illness in communities adjacent to the Navy base where millions of barrels of Agent Orange were stored before being shipped to the Pacific and burned in the late 1970s.  A coalition of environmental groups are fighting to stop the Army Corps of Engineers from dredging Newark Bay due to fears of stirring up the dioxin laden sediment from a former Occidental Agent Orange plant in Newark. New Jersey EPA has banned crabbing and recommends limiting consumption of fish caught in this area. Residents of Nitro, West Virginia who have found high levels of dioxin in the dust in their homes have filed a class action suit against Monsanto which produced Agent Orange in a nearby plant more than 30 years ago. 

There are many grassroots groups working to make the corporations or government agencies accountable. Several Class action lawsuits have been filed in many of these communities to try to get the chemical companies to clean-up their toxic mess. However, as with the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam, people impacted by this toxic legacy of war are also facing a fierce battle right here at home. 


Summary of Available Information on Use, Testing and Storage  of Dioxin Containing Herbicides. From Department of Defense to Representative Lane Evans

Additional information on sites outside of Vietnam from the Vietnam Research by Veteran's website

New Stories:


Flooding may have tainted land -Saginaw News, February 15, 2006

Dow still collecting information on dioxin Saginaw News, February 10, 2006

Court will hear Dow's class-action appeal Saginaw News, Dec. 9, 2005

Class action dioxin case headed to higher court  - Midland Daily News - 15 November 2005

Dow voices anger with class-action ruling - Saginaw News - November 15, 2005

Judge denies delay of Dow lawsuit, November 8, 2005 - Saginaw News

Ecology Center pressures Dow November 2, 2005, The Michigan Daily

Plaintiffs involved in dioxin suit react to delay October 9, 2005, Midland Daily News

High dioxin levels found along Tittabawassee River  Detroit Free Press, August 14, 2005


New Jersey:

Feds, state battle over river cleanup The Jersey Journal, Dec. 9, 2005

Dredging Up Toxins Jersey Journal, February 17, 2005

Enviro Groups, No Dredging, January 05, 2005

Giant Harbor Project Collides With Dioxin-Laced Superfund Site in Newark Bay January 4, 2005


Nitro, West Virginia

Dioxin Lawsuits Head Back to Putnam 10 November, 2005 - The State Journal, WV

Dioxin Fuels Nitro Fears July 24, 2005, Nitro WV

Monsanto, Pharmacia to Conduct New Toxin Study in West Virginia River The Charleston Gazette, Mar. 19, 2004 


Gulfport, MS

Families blame base pollution for illnesses  - September 27, 2004 Gulfport, MS



Agent Orange related Dioxin sites in the United States (partial list)
Location Source of Dioxin Situation Today
Saginaw and Midland, MI Dow Chemical 8,700 parts per trillion at a location in Midland and 8,200 parts per trillion at a park in Saginaw County's Saginaw Township.  About 71.5% of the 144 samples exceeded the state standard of 90 parts per trillion and about 35% were above 1,000 parts per trillion. (Dow sampling)
Newark Bay, NJ Diamond Shamrock - Occidental high levels of TCDD
Nitro, WV Monsanto Dust samples of homes in Nitro found ranges of 16 parts per trillion to 1,210 parts per trillion
Gulfport, MS Naval Base where Agent Orange and other Vietnam era herbicides were stored Barrels of Agent Orange and other herbicides stored at Gulfport were removed and burned in the South Pacific aboard the Vulcanus in the late 70s. Residents are currently asking that the military address the dioxin contamination and related health impacts in the civilian areas surrounding the base.
Ft. Detrick, MD Army Base where Agent Orange was tested unknown
Hilo, HI Testing done by the University of Hawaii