Confidential History: Monsanto and Agent Orange

In 1979, veterans of the Vietnam War filed a class action lawsuit against Monsanto to secure a $40 billion trust fund to compensate the veterans for cancer, miscarriages, and birth defects they claimed were caused by exposure to Monsanto’s product Agent Orange. Five years later, these Vietnam veterans received only a small fraction of this amount in the form of a $180 million fund from a conglomerate of chemical companies that produced Agent Orange including Monsanto.


In response to the 1979 class action lawsuit, Monsanto denied and discredited scientific evidence, government reports, and testimonial accounts of the toxicity of Agent Orange. The document highlighted here offers a glimpse into the ways Monsanto evaded responsibility for producing approximately 3.8 million gallons of the highly toxic substance Agent Orange.

In a transcribed Q and A on Agent Orange that took place in 1982, representatives from Monsanto dodged nearly every question regarding the high toxicity of Agent Orange contaminated with dioxin. To begin questioning, Monsanto representatives were asked about a government document that proves a sample from Agent Orange supplied by Monsanto was highly contaminated with dioxins. In the following responses, Monsanto states: “At this time, we don’t have sufficient information to draw any conclusions from the document...Because we lack crucial information on how the Agent Orange allegedly produced by Monsanto was identified and analyzed it would be inappropriate to draw any conclusions based on the information contained in the government document.”

In a later question, Monsanto representatives are confronted with the question about previous studies showing that Agent Orange contaminated with dioxins is the cause of health problems. The Monsanto representatives reply:


In these replies, one can see Monsanto both avoiding responsibility and denying accountability for their highly toxic product Agent Orange.

Check out the file here!