Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Monsanto Settles Agent Orange Lawsuit For $93 Million

The residents of Nitro, West Virginia, will receive $84 million for medical monitoring, $9 million for the cleanup of 4,500 homes, and legal fees.

Magnified text that reads

Photo: live w mcs (Flickr)

Dioxin, a byproduct of the production of Agent Orange, has been linked to cancer, birth defects, birth defects, immune system deficiencies.

The Wars At Home

The residents of Nitro, West Virginia, may not breathe any easier than they did two weeks ago, but hopefully they feel better after receiving a $93 million settlement from agribusiness giant Monsanto.

The plaintiffs of the class-action lawsuit argued that Monsanto had polluted their community by burning waste from the production of Agent Orange, the defoliant famously used as part of the United States’ chemical warfare program during the Vietnam War.

Toxic Dioxin

The production of Agent Orange creates dioxin as a chemical byproduct.

Dioxin has been linked to “cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities, endrometriosis, infertility, and suppressed immune functions,” says Businessweek.

Long History Of Lawsuits

Litigation regarding Agent Orange production began with seven former employees who sued Monsanto in the 1980s.

One man developed bladder cancer during the trial.

The jury found in the plaintiffs’ favor and awarded them moderate damages.

In 2008, individual lawsuits involving current and former residents of Nitro were consolidated into a single class-action suit.

The chemical plant in Nitro closed down in 2004.

“All Or Nothing” Approval

The $93 million settlement includes a budget of $84 million for healthcare monitoring and $9 million to clean up 4,500 homes, in addition to the payment of plaintiffs’ legal fees.

Putnam County Circuit Judge Derek Swope, who approved the settlement, dismissed claims from some class members who asserted the settlement wasn’t fair.

“Any objection that asserts that the settlements could have been better must be rejected because the question is not whether the actual settlements could have been better, but whether the actual settlements are fair, adequate, and reasonable,” Swope wrote, as reprinted by BusinessWeek.

Read More:

Sarah Gordon

Sarah Gordon has been interested in food ethics since she was 15, learned about industrial slaughter, and launched into 10 years of vegetarianism. These days, she strives to be a conscientious omnivore. Now a PhD candidate in folklore, her research has caused her to spend a lot of time in the remote Canadian sub-arctic, where the lake trout (sustainably harvested) tastes amazing.

View all posts by this author »

  • http://www.facebook.com/whistleblower.cop Whistleblower Cop

    Sarah,

    Just saw your article which appealed to me immensely, as I have been active for the past 40 years fighting for environmental laws to restrict Pesticide and Herbicide use on our food as well as GMO products we consume.

    I was inspired in the 60′s by Rachel Carson’s dedicated work (she is my personal hero), and because of her, and declining bird populations of most species of birds, especially our national symbol (the Bald Eagle), which is the very reason I became a Federal Agent, Special Agent (Criminal Investigator) fighting environmental crimes for 30+ years (now retired with honors.)….but Still fighting!!!

  • Fida Hurlock

    does this just apply to those living in West Virginia?

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media