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The United States and Vietnam are to join forces to count the cost of Agent Orange, the chemical that has been blamed for causing birth defects among Vietnam’s children.

The agreement sets up a US-Vietnam advisory committee that will arrange researcher visits, meetings and exchanges of graduate students.

But with no special funding — and with some government officials on both sides keen to keep details of the damage under wraps — some experts doubt whether the project can get to the bottom of the health and environment problems caused by the chemical.

Nature 416, 252 (2002)

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