Bayer settlement on PCB hangs on a cliff

The arrangement of the German chemical group Bayer with 2,500 American cities in a case on environmental pollution with the chemical polychlorinated biphenyl, also known as PCBs, is in doubt. A number of US states are concerned about a provision that states that cities are penalised when their home state makes a separate claim against Bayer.

Polychlorinated biphenyl was officially banned in 1979 because it was shown to be associated with environmental damage and cancer. PCB was used for decades in, among others, the American power grid.

The PCB settlement worth some USD 650 million is part of Bayer’s plan to settle with USD 12 billion all the disputes it inherited from the takeover of Monsanto two years ago.

The bulk of that amount is used in the process of herbicide Roundup, which would be carcinogenic. Bayer has always maintained that the chemical glyphosate is safe for agricultural use. Monsanto marketed glyphosate since the 1970s under the name Roundup. The product is available in garden centers, among others.

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