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Web Date: February 27, 2012

Judge Approves Settlement In Agent Orange Lawsuit

Monsanto will pay up to $93 million to monitor health, clean homes of Nitro, W.Va., residents
Department: Business
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: herbicides, Agent Orange, dioxins, toxic torts

Monsanto has agreed to pay up to $93 million to settle health and property damage claims by workers and people who lived near a now-shuttered plant in Nitro, W.Va., where the company once made an ingredient for the herbicide Agent Orange.

“We are pleased to resolve this matter and end any concerns about historic operations at the Nitro plant,” says Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge. In a joint statement with Monsanto, plaintiff attorney Stuart Calwell says “the settlements provide needed medical benefits and remediation services to the people of Nitro.”

The agreement settles a class-action suit filed in 2004 and a total of 200 separate single-plaintiff actions filed in 2007 and 2009. A West Virginia state court must hold a fairness hearing, planned for June, before the settlement takes effect.

Between 1949 and 1969, Monsanto’s Nitro plant made 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid, an active ingredient in Agent Orange. The suits allege that waste dioxins from the Nitro plant contaminated the town. Dioxins are associated with a variety of ill health effects, including cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, Monsanto will pay $21 million to fund a medical monitoring program at a local hospital. Up to $63 million in additional money will be available over the program’s 30-year life. The program will cover “thousands” of current and former residents as well as workers at the plant, which made a variety of chemicals between 1929 and 2004. Monsanto also will pay up to $9 million to clean 4,500 homes that may be contaminated with dioxins.

Monsanto, which says the settlement will reduce earnings this year by $27 million, is a producer of genetically modified crop seeds and herbicides such as Roundup. Once a significant chemical maker, the firm spun off its chemical operations as Solutia in 1997. Monsanto took on responsibility for the legacy chemical operations after Solutia sought bankruptcy court protection in 2003.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society
Cis  (February 27, 2012 7:20 PM)
What is the story on Monsanto's "2,4 D corn"? Doesn't it seem a bit risky, given the history of the herbicide? Yes we are talking about 2,4,5 T here but is 2,4 D risk free?
Mark Shapiro  (March 3, 2012 6:29 AM)
Readers are strongly encouraged to visit the 'Agent Orange Action Group' at www.aoag.org to learn more about Agent Orange use in Vietnam
Eric  (March 16, 2012 1:24 PM)
I am a veteran from panama 88-91 and was discharged with emphysema/asthma, that has never smoked a day in his life. Now as I go down the check list of agent orange symptoms and check off half of them I learn that the chemical was used in panama for testing in the 60s and 70s. what do you think?
Rafael Carrillo Ruiz  (August 20, 2014 2:57 PM)
I'm a panama veteran 1969/1971 have Copd, congestive heart failure,withICD implant,prostate cancer have you had any luck think I was exposed Ft. Gordon
Linda Stacy  (January 18, 2013 1:55 PM)
i am the surving spouse of a vietnam vet and he passed asway in 1987...i am currently receiving dic payments..Should i apply to see if i should receive anything more because of agent orange in vietnam??
Deborah D Williams  (June 14, 2013 9:29 AM)
I'm the surving spouse fo a vietnam vet.He passed away in 1991 from lung cancer because he was exposed to agent orange. I'm currently receiving dic payments. Should I receive anything else because his death was a result of angent orange?
Diane Hernandez  (March 27, 2014 2:21 PM)
My husband is currently in the hospital also a agent orange Vietnam veteran. he has paperwork stating the fact. we are unable to move him home to a local nursing facility in his last days, sad for everyone. I also would like to know if he should be looking for compensation since he was not included in the early pay out as he was not yet diagnosed.
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