Bayer AG is reportedly considering whether to stop selling its weed killer Roundup in retail stores.
German newspaper Handelsblatt reported Thursday that the company is contemplating the shift as part of a settlement with plaintiffs who claim glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, causes cancer. Bayer would continue to sell the herbicide to farmers.
Glyphosate has been one of the world’s most popular herbicides since it was developed in the 1970s, and it has been the subject of thousands of lawsuits against Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018.
A number of those lawsuits made it to trial last year and resulted in judgments against the company worth tens of millions of dollars. Bayer has disputed claims the chemical causes cancer and is appealing all of the judgments.
The Environmental Protection Agency finalized an interim decision this week in a regulatory review of glyphosate, reaffirming its position that the herbicide is not a carcinogen and poses no risk to human health.
Lawyers representing Bayer have filed a challenge to one of the judgments against Monsanto, arguing that the case should have never gone to trial in the first place, citing the EPA’s previous conclusions that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. Their argument maintains that if Monsanto included a label on its products that warned glyphosate could cause cancer, it would have been a violation of EPA rules. They argued that, therefore, Monsanto can’t be held responsible for following them.