The pharmaceutical and biotechnology giant Bayer has agreed to pay $6.9 million to resolve accusations brought by the attorney general of New York that its Monsanto division made false and misleading statements regarding the safety of the weedkiller Roundup.
The amount is in addition to the many billions of dollars Bayer has already spent to resolve claims that Roundup, one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world, causes cancer.
Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, which Bayer purchased in 2018, for advertising that claimed Roundup “won’t harm anything but weeds” and did not endanger the wellbeing of wildlife.
James claimed that the assertions were in violation of a prior settlement New York State and Monsanto signed twenty years prior, in which Monsanto promised to refrain from making unfounded claims about the security of Roundup products containing glyphosate.
In a statement, James stated that “pesticides can seriously harm the health of our environment and pose a deadly threat to wildlife, including pollinators and other species vital to agriculture.”
“In order for pesticides to be used responsibly, it is imperative that pesticide companies — even and especially the most powerful ones — are open and honest with consumers about the risks posed by their products.”
Insisting that Roundup is safe to use, Bayer said it was “pleased” to settle the legal dispute.
According to the corporation, the state’s legal claim “made no findings regarding the safety of Roundup products and no scientific conclusion that they have caused harm to the environment, including pollinators or aquatic species,” and instead focused on the state’s advertising methods rather than human health hazards.
The business claimed that in making the assertion, the attorney general had used out-of-date scientific data.
For many years, glyphosate has been the focus of investigation and scholarly discussion.
In 2015, it was designated as a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which has its headquarters in France.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined in 2020 that the pesticide did not present a danger to human health, but a federal appeals court in California ordered the agency to reconsider that conclusion last year, claiming it was not adequately supported by the available data.
The millions of dollars that Bayer and Monsanto will give to the office of the New York attorney general will be used to mitigate the harm that environmental toxins or pollutants inflict on aquatic creatures and pollinating insects.
The firms must also immediately take down or stop running any marketing that portrays glyphosate-containing products like Roundup as being safe for animals or nontoxic.