Chemical company Bayer will pay up to $ 10.9 billion (£ 8.8 billion) to settle cancer claims related to its herbicide Roundup.
The glyphosate-based product has been subject to approximately 125,000 lawsuits for its alleged carcinogenic effects.
New York-based law firm Weitz & Luxenberg says it has reached a settlement on behalf of nearly 100,000 people.
Bayer denies doing anything wrong, but said the payment would end “uncertainty.”
Roundup was originally launched by the American firm Monsanto, which bought Bayer in 2018.
Since its introduction more than four decades ago, it has become known as the world’s most popular herbicide,
As part of the settlement, Bayer will pay up to $ 9.6 billion to resolve pending claims, and will reserve another $ 1.25 billion to deal with any future action, the company said in a statement on its website.
“It has been a long journey, but we are very happy to have achieved justice for the tens of thousands of people who, due to causes beyond their control, suffer from non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using a product that Monsanto claimed was safe,” he said. in a statement Robin Greenwald, chairman of the practice group, environmental pollution and consumer protection in Weitz and Luxenberg.
Up to $ 5 billion of the agreed payment will be released this year, with another $ 5 billion paid in 2021. Bayer said a settlement has not yet been reached for approximately 25% of pending claims.
“First of all, the Roundup deal is the right action at the right time for Bayer to end a long period of uncertainty,” wrote Werner Baumann, Bayer’s chief executive.
He reiterated the company’s view that science indicates that “Roundup does not cause cancer and is therefore not responsible for the diseases alleged in this litigation.”
The German chemical giant bought Monsanto for $ 63 billion two years ago and immediately faced legal battles over the herbicide.
In August 2018, a California court issued the first ruling linking Roundup to cancer, awarding plaintiffs substantial compensation.
In their lawsuits, users blame Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate for its non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many herbicides, although the science on its safety is still far from conclusive. Some countries have banned glyphosate-containing herbicides, while others continue to use them.
Bayer denies that glyphosate is a carcinogen, a position backed by the US Environmental Protection Agency. USA
In addition to the Roundup compensation, Bayer will also pay around $ 820 million to resolve cases related to water contamination from the use of the now banned polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) chemical.
In addition to this, Bayer will pay another $ 400 million to settle allegations that its dicamba-based herbicide caused crop damage. Dicamba has also been banned in the United States.