Monsanto’s legal battles are mounting after a California jury ordered the agrochemical corporation to pay a former groundskeeper stricken with terminal cancer $289 million in damages.
The government of Vietnam is now demanding that Monsanto compensate the victims of Agent Orange, an herbicide Monsanto supplied to the U.S. military for use in warfare against North Vietnam forces during the Vietnam War.
The U.S. released about 12 million gallons of Monsanto’s Agent Orange from airplanes over 30,000 miles of Vietnam and parts of Laos and Cambodia. The intent was to kill the food and shelter on which the Viet Cong depended. The Agent Orange campaign lasted from 1961 to 1971.
According to The Nation, Nguyen Phuong Tra, a spokesman for Viet Nam’s foreign ministry, said that the landmark California 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.”
Monsanto’s claims that its Roundup and Ranger Pro herbicides are “safe as salt” to human health echo its claims that the Agent Orange used in Vietnam was also harmless.
Mr. Nguyen told state media that “Vietnam has suffered tremendous consequences from the war, especially with regard to the lasting and devastating effects of toxic chemicals, including Agent Orange.”
Dioxin, an extremely toxic element found in Agent Orange, has been linked to birth defects, cancer, organ damage, and multiple other debilitating health problems. Even to this day, millions of people in Southeast Asia continue to suffer from the indiscriminate use of Agent Orange through birth defects passed down through generations.
Monsanto, which recently became a unit of Bayer, currently faces about 8,000 lawsuits in the U.S. alleging the glyphosate in its herbicides caused cancer and other personal injuries.
On Aug. 10, Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a former groundskeeper in the Bay Area, was awarded $289 million for his terminal cancer, which he alleged was caused by years of routine exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro pesticides.