Dow Chemical still claims Agent Orange was not harmful


As our readers already know the questions surrounding Agent Orange and related Rainbow Agents used during Herbicide Warfare in Vietnam are very complex, and extremely political issues. In fact, just like the wars to get PTSD, Gulf War Illness, Depleted Uranium, or any other the other collateral damage of war recognized once the troops come home has historically been very political.

In reaction to a question raised by two attorneys, I consulted on related evidence of Agent Rainbow (to refer to all the chemical agents used like Agent Orange), their concerns were that (1) the VA is not on average going to accept documented evidence taken from the internet for the likelihood it could be forged or in someway tampered with – a reliability issue on one hand and laziness of VA employees (adjudicators) to adequately do their jobs on the other. Simply put VA adjudicators are not going to research the authenticity of any documented evidence provided off the internet leaving the burden of proof up to the Veteran filing his/her claim. (2) Even if it can be proven that Agent Rainbow was used on Guam or anywhere else, a Vet still must prove exposure and a relation between that exposure and chemical contamination. (3) In regards to dioxins existing today on Anderson AFB, Guam a Vet must prove that such chemical waste clean-up today was tied to Agent Orange use during Vietnam or when the Vet served on Guam or anywhere else.

Our belief here at VT based on the VA’s own regulations and spirit of erring in favor of America’s Veterans that is giving the benefit of a doubt to Vets filing claims is not only being ignored but the VA’s is not doing its job when VA Claim Adjudicators or Appeals Court Judges place the burden of proof on Vets instead of giving them the benefit of a doubt.

If push comes to shove, the VA and our government should and must give America’s Veterans the same (heck even more) respect and dignity it does immigrants coming to the United States today seeking U.S. citizenship. Immigrants who have never served in the Armed Forces (and quite a few who have) are treated with legal dignity and allowed to swear under oath that the documentation they are providing to support the right to U.S. Citizenship is the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help the God. How come America’s Veterans cannot be afforded the same dignity and respect?

Anyway, in response to the legal concerns raised by the attorneys I consulted the documentation from Innovest group the investment research company contracted by both Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto to do an investor risk assessment circa January 2005 has been determined by VT to be an authentic document from an existing firm that has both Dow and Monsanto as clients.

Innovest Group

Innovest investment research has been used by: Dow Chemical Company, page 34

Although the chemical companies involved in the Agent Orange lawsuit settled out of court, to this day they take the same position as Dow Chemical Company that Agent Orange never posed a health risk. More on that later.

However, the investor risk assessment written by Innovest Group for both Dow Chemical and Monsanto note the same concern about Agent Orange on Guam.

This leads VT News to believe that if both Dow Chemical and Monsanto view the presence of Agent Orange on Guam, or anywhere else, as a investment risk but continue to deny Agent Orange is a health risk, who are we to doubt them?

Simply put if Innovest group has advised both Dow Chemical and Monsanto of the investor risk related to Agent Orange use on Guam and elsewhere outside Vietnam, and neither Dow Chemical or Monsanto has rebutted that notion other than claim Agent Orange was not a health risk during Vietnam. This documentation alone should suffice to give Veterans who served on Guam or elsewhere outside Vietnam the benefit of a doubt, since the Department of Defense can neither confirm of deny Agent Orange presence on Guam during Vietnam.

Even if there is not sufficient proof that Agent Rainbow was present on Guam during the Vietnam War, the chemical companies who produced it under orders from the DoD appear to believe it was that should be good enough for the VA to add Guam to the list of presumed locations of Agent Orange use, storage, or trans shipment. However, Veterans proving a relationship between their belief or even actual use of Agent Orange on Guam or elsewhere and what ails them now is another matter.

Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, VT News

The Position of Dow Chemical Company today remains that Agent Orange was never a health hazard.

“As a nation at war, the U.S. government compelled a number of companies to produce Agent Orange under the Defense Production Act. The government specified how it would be produced and controlled its use.

The scientific investigation on Agent Orange has gone on since the Vietnam War and continues today. There have been extensive epidemiological studies of those veterans most exposed to Agent Orange. Today, the scientific consensus is that when the collective human evidence is reviewed, it doesn’t show that Agent Orange caused veteran’s illnesses.”

The same position paper in which Dow Chemical today claims that “the scientific consensus is that when the collective human evidence is reviewed, it doesn’t show that Agent Orange caused veteran’s illnesses” also has Dow Chemical coming across as if the chemical companies “federalized” by the U.S. government during Vietnam were also victims of the Agent Orange they claim that our government produced.

Dow notes that its chemical operation related to Agent Orange had been commandeered by the federal government during Vietnam by Presidential executive order under the emergency powers of the Defense Production Act and that if anyone should be sued it would be the Federal Government, including the Pentagon, Department of the Army, and Department of the Air Force.

In fact, in arguing its latest lawsuit filed by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange use in Vietnam the chemical companies successfully argued right up to the Supreme Court that the governments involved in the Vietnam War must resolve the issues surrounding exposure to Agent Orange, for the chemical companies had no choice but to produce what DoD and the White House wanted under the Defense Production Act.

This view is reinforced by the position taken by Monsanto, “There have been other lawsuits since that time [the Agent Orange settlement]. In March of 2009, a key legal question was settled in the United States when the U.S. Supreme Court let stand unanimous lower court rulings disallowing recovery from lawsuits on the Agent Orange issue. The Supreme Court agreed that the companies were not responsible for the implications of military use of Agent Orange in Vietnam, because the manufacturers were government contractors, carrying out the instructions of government.”

Agent Orange use outside Vietnam

With one face the two faced Dow Chemical and Monsanto deny the health risk to Veterans of Agent Orange poisoning but are quick with their other face to be cautioned about the Corporate Investment Risk of future claims or lawsuits due to Agent Orange use on Guam and elsewhere outside Vietnam.

Their strategy tends to be placing the blame on the federal government. America’s Veterans need to ask this hard question could the chemical companies be right? History of the Agent Orange lawsuits tends to support their position. If not, how come Vets and lawyers were so willing to settle out of court, and how come the compensation and research aspects surrounding Agent Orange have been within the realm of our government NOT the chemical companies.

We are not saying that the chemical companies are without blame for their collaboration in the Vietnam War effort, as they seen to contend today under federal duress. However, we are saying that considering the chemical companies have successfully fended off every law suit thrown at them, deny that Agent Orange was ever a health threat to Vietnam Veterans, and neither Dow or any of the other chemical companies involved has contributed significantly to research on behalf of America’s Vets claiming agent orange exposure it stands to reason that maybe, just maybe, all concerned or who feel they have been victimized by the Politics of Agent Orange should sue our government at every turn.

In the mean time, keep the VA claims for Agent Orange coming for at least our government has admitted guilt or there would be no VA compensation for Agent Orange in the first place.

The 2005 Monsanto Risk Report by Innovest Group

Now that we have established the authenticity of these risk assessment done by Innovest on behalf of Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto, below is exactly what these investment risks are:

Each chemical company (well Monsanto is more into seeds and such for farming today) has this notation in their report(s):

Traditional Chemical Risks and The Solutia Bankruptcy ………. Page 63
Agent Orange: Overview & the 1984 Settlement……………….Page 64


Agent Orange: Concerns Beyond U.S. Vietnam Veterans…………..Page 66

And I quote, “Agent Orange: Concerns Beyond U.S. Vietnam Veterans

Agent Orange exposure has also become an issue for military personnel
stationed outside of combat zones and for U.S. civilians as well. Soldiers stationed on Guam who handled Agent Orange have become ill and symptoms of TCDD (dioxin) poisoning are apparent in the general population of the island as well.155 TCDD contamination as a result of Agent Orange handling has been measured at up to 1900 ppm in some areas of Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.156 Given that safe levels of TCDD have been placed at below 1 ppb by the EPA and even lower by many state regulatory agencies (toxic effects have been measured at parts per trillion), this implies an extraordinary level of contamination. TCDD has been shown in laboratory animals to have multigenerational impacts, not just on the offspring of exposed animals, but on the next generation as well. In addition to new studies detailing health impacts, there is ongoing research to more accurately calculate levels of TCDD contamination of Agent Orange, and thus, exposure as a result of the use of Agent Orange. According to recent studies by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health157,158 the amounts of TCDD contaminant in Agent Orange were up to four times greater than previously estimated. The equivalent of 600 kg of pure TCDD was sprayed and spilled in Vietnam. Given that this is a compound for which yearly emissions by the chemical industry are measured in grams and exposure thresholds are calculated in picograms, this represents an extraordinary amount of dioxin

Source Pages 66 & 67

Innovest Strategic Value Advisers – Monsanto Investor Risk Report – January 2005

Bottom Line if the presence of Agent Orange on Guam or anywhere else outside Vietnam is reliable enough for Innovest to place in investor risk assessment for both Dow Chemical and Monsanto, such evidence should be good enough for the VA.

However, advice from lawyers we consulted is that if a Veterans plans on using this Innovest Strategic Value Advisers Investor Risk Report as evidence that Agent Orange was used on Guam it would behoove you to contact Innovest and get a hard copy of the document.

[email protected]

or the Innovest Researcher

Innovest Strategic Value Advisors
Marc Brammer
Senior Analyst
[email protected]
4 Times Sq. 3rd Fl.
New York, NY

We have contacted Innovest to authenticate the report now circulating on the internet – Innovest Strategic Value Advisers – Monsanto Investor Risk Report – January 2005, but we believe it to be a reliable source until we hear otherwise from Innovest.

Bobby Hanafin


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Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I've posted on Veterans Today, I've had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner. My association with VT since its founding in 2004 has been a very rewarding experience for me. Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000. I've been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I'm now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house. I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.