The Legal Battle Over Roundup’s Advertising Claims

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Bayer’s Settlement Over Roundup Advertising: A Case of Transparency 

When it comes to environmental health and consumer rights, transparency is key. This was the core issue in a recent settlement between Bayer, the multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, and New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, over the advertising of the weedkiller Roundup. 

Key Points: 

  • Bayer has agreed to pay $6.9 million to settle allegations of false advertising for its weedkiller Roundup. 
  • The lawsuit claimed that Monsanto, acquired by Bayer in 2018, violated a previous settlement by making unsubstantiated safety claims. 
  • The settlement requires Bayer and Monsanto to remove or discontinue advertisements representing Roundup as harmless to wildlife. 
  • The settlement funds will be used to remedy the impacts of environmental toxins on pollinators and aquatic species. 
  • The safety of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, has been the subject of scientific debate and legal challenges for years. 

The Allegations Against Bayer and Monsanto 

The settlement, amounting to $6.9 million, stems from allegations that Bayer’s Monsanto unit made false and misleading claims about the safety of Roundup, one of the world’s most widely used herbicides. The lawsuit focused on advertisements that claimed Roundup “won’t harm anything but weeds” and poses no threat to animal wildlife. These assertions, James argued, violated a previous settlement reached with Monsanto two decades ago, wherein the company agreed to cease making unsubstantiated claims regarding Roundup’s safety. 

This is not the first time Bayer has faced legal challenges over Roundup. The company has already paid billions of dollars to settle lawsuits claiming that the herbicide, which contains glyphosate, causes cancer. The safety of glyphosate has been a point of contention and scientific debate for years, with the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifying it as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found in 2020 that it did not pose a health risk to humans, though a federal appeals court in California later ordered the agency to reexamine that ruling. 

As part of the settlement, Bayer and Monsanto are required to immediately remove or discontinue any advertisements that represent Roundup products containing glyphosate as harmless, non-toxic, or free from risk to wildlife. The millions of dollars paid to the New York attorney general’s office will be used to mitigate the impacts of environmental toxins or pollution on pollinators and aquatic species. 

The settlement reached by Bayer and New York’s attorney general is a step towards ensuring that companies are held accountable for the claims they make about their products. It also highlights the importance of transparency and accountability in protecting both consumers and the environment. 

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