No Longer So Secret an Agent

Court documents reveal manufacturers knew dioxin's perils

When the flamethrower on the Navy gunboat burned off foliage along the riverbank of the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam in 1967, recalls Robert Sutton, a ship's gunner, "I inhaled the fumes of the foliage that had been killed by Agent Orange." Before long, he says, he began suffering from diarrhea, vomiting and headaches, and in 1969 was given an honorable discharge. Back in West Babylon, N.Y., the veteran's health deteriorated rapidly; today the unemployed steam fitter's ailments include brain lesions and degenerative joint disease.

In court in Uniondale, N.Y., last week, Sutton partook of a...

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