The Roundup manufacturer faces billions of dollars in potential legal payments

The Missouri House gave its support to a bill that could shield Roundup manufacturer Bayer from lawsuits alleging that it failed to warn consumers about the product’s links to cancer. The bill will now proceed to the state Senate.

The new legislation states that no further labelling on pesticide products, beyond the labelling required by the federal government, will be necessary to “satisfy any requirement for a warning label regarding cancer.” This is likely to make it impossible to claim that Bayer did not warn consumers of potential links to cancer.

The vote last Wednesday was a significant win for the company, whose North American crop-science division is based in the St Louis area.

The chemical giant was part of a coalition of pressure groups that ran ads on the radio, in newspapers and on billboards in favor of the new legislation.

Bayer has given its support to bills in Idaho and Iowa which would provide similar protections against lawsuits related to cancers from exposure to Roundup. Roundup is important to Idaho because glyphosate is made using phosphate, which is mined in the state. The company has significant manufacturing facilities in Iowa, which it has suggested may have to close if it does not receive legal protection from lawsuits.

Like Monsanto, which Bayer bought in 2016, Bayer disputes any and all claims that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, causes or is associated with cancer, despite a slew of lawsuits and scientific studies that suggest otherwise.

Nearly 170,000 legal cases against Bayer claim that Roundup causes a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although the company has won some cases, huge initial judgments have been made in a number of cases, including that of a Philadelphia man who was awarded $2.25 billion by a jury. Bayer has already paid $10 billion for Roundup claims.

The US EPA continues to maintain that glyphosate is not carcinogenic when used properly as directed.

After the passing of the bill, Bayer issued a statement of thanks, saying: “We are grateful that members of the Missouri House have supported farmers and science over the litigation industry.”

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