victims have filed their first lawsuit against US companies that
produced the toxic defoliant used by American forces during the
Agent Orange has been linked to disabilities in
A newly-formed victims' group submitted the suit on behalf of two
women and a man to a US federal court.
American veterans exposed to the herbicide, known as Agent
Orange, have complained for years about health problems and sued
some of the makers.
The group says about three million people suffer from side
Between 1962 and 1971, US planes sprayed millions of gallons of
the defoliant across parts of Vietnam to deny the communists food
and jungle cover.
The US stopped spraying in 1971 after it was discovered that it
contained the most dangerous form of dioxin, TCDD, and caused cancer
On behalf of victims
The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange submitted the
suit to the US Federal Court in New York on 30 January.
The group went
to the federal court due to its experience with cases filed by
former American soldiers, said its vice president, Nguyen Trong
Herbicide used to clear vegetation, denying
enemy forces cover
Name derives from orange markings on the drums
the chemical was shipped in
All three plaintiffs had worked in areas sprayed with Agent
Orange, Mr Nhan was reported as saying by the Associated Press news
One female plaintiff suffered four miscarriages while the other
has breast cancer. The man also has cancer and has two children with
birth defects, the news agency reported.
"I do not want to do this for myself as it has been a long time
already," a plaintiff named as Phan Thi Phi Phi told Reuters news
"But in Vietnam, the poorest, the most miserable and the most
discriminated ones are the Agent Orange victims so anything I can do
for them, I will," she said.
The independent lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of
compensation for the health problems allegedly caused by the toxic
At least 10 US companies are named in the suit.
Many American veterans have blamed Agent Orange for health
problems including cancer, diabetes and spina bifida.
The US Government says there is no direct evidence linking dioxin
with the illnesses.
But about 10,000 Vietnam War veterans in the US allegedly receive
disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure.
Hanoi has never formally asked for compensation for the victims
of Agent Orange.