As a way to resolve thousands of Roundup cases, Bayer agreed to pay more than $10 billion in settlements. The company, which bought Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, in 2018, is being sued over herbicide dicamba as well as water contamination.
The lawsuits claim Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, caused the plaintiffs to develop cancer in most cases non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bayer will have to pay between “$8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve current Roundup lawsuits,” NPR reported. It will also settle cases filed by farmers over dicamba—a broad-spectrum herbicide that when sprayed, drifts into neighboring farms causing crop damage. One of the biggest dicamba claims is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, in which Bayer could be responsible for paying a total of “$400 million to resolve the multi-district litigation” for damaged crops from 2015-2020.
Regarding water contamination by PCBs, Bayer is likely to pay $650 million in local lawsuits and “$170 million to the attorneys-general of New Mexico, Washington and the District of Columbia,” NPR reported. The lawsuits say that while Monsanto halted the production of toxic PBCs in 1977 (the EPA banned the use of them in 1979), “they persist in the environment because they bind to sediments and soils” causing health risks from high exposure, State Impact Pennsylvania reported.
While different parts of the deal are still currently pending court approval, overall, the settlement does not cover three cases that have already gone to trial and could face appeals.
Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer, said the decision will “return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science.”
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.”