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Saturday, August 21, 1999 Published at 02:54 GMT 03:54 UK

World: Americas

US 'tested Agent Orange in Panama'

Newspaper reports in the United States say the American army carried out secret tests of the highly toxic chemical, Agent Orange, in Panama, in the 1960s and 70s.

A US army veteran who served in Panama said in the Dallas Morning News that hundreds of barrels of Agent Orange - a defoliant - were sprayed close to the Panama Canal, in densely-populated areas and near a lake which is a source of water for Panama City.

The US army says it is investigating the reports. Agent Orange, used widely during the Vietnam war, is thought to have been responsible for thousands of cases of cancer and birth defects.

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