Agent Orange

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The selective weed killer known as "Agent Orange" became notorious for its use in the 1960s during the Vietnam War by US forces to eliminate ground cover which could protect enemy forces.

It was subsequently discovered to contain highly poisonous dioxin.

Thousands of US troops who had handled it, along with many Vietnamese people who came into contact with it, later developed cancer or produced deformed babies.

In 2000 it was announced by the Pentagon that a link had been found between Agent Orange and diabetes in veterans who sprayed it during the Vietnam War.

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Agent Orange, named after the distinctive orange stripe on its packaging, combines equal parts of 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and 2,4,5-T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid), both now banned in the USA.

Companies that had manufactured the chemicals faced an increasing number of lawsuits in the 1970s. All the suits were settled out of court in a single class action, resulting in the largest ever payment of its kind ($180 million) to claimants.