The chemical group Bayer will replace glyphosate with an alternative substance in its herbicides sold to private individuals in the US from 2023. The German company is now waiting for approval from the American environmental watchdog EPA. Glyphosate will still be used in the weed killers for the professional market. The company announced this on Thursday. Bayer has faced a lot of lawsuits in recent years because people claim to have contracted cancer from using the pesticide.
Glyphosate is the main component of the pesticide Roundup, which was originally marketed by the American company Monsanto.
Since Bayer took over that company, the drug has also been owned by the chemical giant.
Since the takeover, Bayer has had to defend itself in tens of thousands of lawsuits from people who claim that Roundup is carcinogenic.
Bayer has always disputed those claims, shielding studies from health authorities showing that glyphosate does not cause cancer.
Still, the company is taking action now and in two years' time in the US it will replace the glyphosate in its private herbicides with another substance.
"We're not doing this because we think there's a health risk associated with glyphosate, but because we want to avoid future lawsuits," Bayer explains.
No action in Europe
Bayer is not doing anything in Europe for the time being, but there are no lawsuits against the company there either.
The European Commission is in favor of banning glyphosate in 2022, but for the time being Roundup is still for sale in the Netherlands, among others.
The company is in talks with the EPA in the US about the labeling of herbicides and the rules surrounding their sale.
It will also set up a website where buyers can find studies of the effects of Roundup.
In addition, the German chemicals group will ask the US Supreme Court to reopen a case it lost in May this year and reconsider the company's motivations. Bayer is hopeful that it can win that case, but is setting aside 4.5 billion dollars (3.8 billion euros) in case the judge decides in favor of the prosecutor.