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'Vindication': Bayer Reaches $10 Billion Settlement Over Roundup Cancer Lawsuits

The deal includes $1.25 billion to cover potential future settlements.

Demonstrators walk with placards during a march for agroecology and civil resistance against U.S. seed and pesticide maker Monsanto on May 20, 2017 in Bordeaux, southwestern France.

Demonstrators walk with placards during a march for agroecology and civil resistance against U.S. seed and pesticide maker Monsanto on May 20, 2017 in Bordeaux, southwestern France. (Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images)

Agribusiness giant Bayer announced Wednesday that it reached a more than $10 billion deal to settle thousands of lawsuits that claimed exposure to Monsanto's Roundup caused cancer.

A statement from Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018—and thus inherited lawsuits targeting the widely used weedkiller—said the settlement affects "75% of the current Roundup litigation involving approximately 125,000 filed and unfiled claims overall."

Terms of the settlement include Bayer paying $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve the current lawsuits—"including an allowance expected to cover unresolved claims." The deal also includes $1.25 billion to cover potential future settlements, the company said.

According to Ken Cook, president of advocacy group Environmental Working Group, the settlement represents "vindication for all those who have fallen ill with cancer as a result of being exposed to this chemical."

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"No amount of money can reverse the damage Bayer-Monsanto has inflicted on these victims and countless others, but because of their and their attorneys' tireless fight for justice, the company that exposed them is now paying a heavy price for its duplicitous deception," said Cook.

The main ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, which EWG calls "the most widely used herbicide in the world." While the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 classified glyphosate a "probable carcinogen" for humans, Bayer asserts that the weedkiller is safe to use and will not put cancer warning labels on the product.

Cook said that Roundup's widespread use means that public health in still at risk.

"Even as we celebrate and congratulate those who made this day possible, millions of people are being exposed to glyphosate through the food they eat, working as groundskeepers or farmworkers, or gardening at home," Cook said. As such, "Bayer-Monsanto must be held accountable beyond today's settlement, the Food and Drug Administration must immediately eliminate its use as a pre-harvest desiccant, and the Environmental Protection Agency must ban all home uses."

"That is the only way to assure future generations of Americans do not get sick or die from exposure to this cancer-causing chemical," said Cook.

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