On May 7, 1984 -- just a little more than a month after this documentary on toxic poisoning was filmed -- sick Vietnam veterans reached one out-of-court settlement against seven chemical companies for the damage they suffered due to their exposure to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War. Named for an orange stripe on the barrels in which it was stored, Agent Orange's primary component was dioxin, the most potent carcinogen known to science. This documentary was one of the first to expose the lethal effects of dioxin, even though these effects were no "secret" to the labs that produced the toxin, once present in many herbicides and even anti-bacterial soap in the U.S. No one has yet researched the remaining presence of dioxin in products for sale outside of the U.S. Film shows U.S. military aircraft spraying 11 million gallons of Agent Orange over Vietnamese rivers and rice fields, and juxtaposes these images with others of deformed babies born to Vietnamese women exposed to the chemical defoliants. The same issue of deformities is addressed in regard to American babies fathered by Vietnam vets exposed to the deadly Agent Orange. Dioxin does not decompose and remains as threat as long as it is not removed from the environment. Well-documented, even-handed, and thorough, this film by Jacki Ochs and Dan Keller (producer) is an admirable record of a great tragedy.
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