Bayer agrees to pay $80 million for environmental damage caused by Monsanto

The Ohio state attorney general said on Thursday that Bayer AG has negotiated a $80 million settlement with the state of Ohio to redress environmental damage allegedly caused by polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, manufactured by the company’s Monsanto division. 

According to the attorney general, the monies from the German company, which did not admit guilt, will be utilized for environmental cleaning. 

Bayer said in a statement that Monsanto, which it bought for $63 billion in 2018, never manufactured PCBs in Ohio or discharged them into Ohio waterways.

Originally, PCBs were often used to insulate electrical equipment, as well as carbonless copy paper, caulking, floor finish, and paint. After being linked to cancer, the US government made them illegal in 1979. 

Bayer has been attempting to settle a number of claims involving Monsanto’s PCBs, which were utilized in commercial products from 1935 to 1977, when Monsanto voluntarily stopped producing them.

In addition to negotiating legal agreements with states, the business struck a $648 million proposed class action settlement with over 2,500 cities and other local governments. A federal judge gave preliminary approval to the accord last week. 

Members of the class must determine whether to endorse the agreement, object to its conditions, or opt out and pursue their own lawsuit, as Los Angeles did earlier this month.

If more than 2% of the class members opt out, Bayer can withdraw from the settlement. 

Bayer is also facing personal injury lawsuits as a result of PCB exposure. 

Last year, two separate juries in Washington state awarded a total of $247 million in damages as a result of exposure in a school. The plaintiffs were not exposed to hazardous quantities of PCBs, according to the evidence, and Bayer plans to appeal both decisions.

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