Justice: Monsanto Agricultural Poison Gives Chemistry Giving Bayer Sensitive Tap

The agricultural poison #Roundup was once Monsanto's great success. Shortly after competitor Bayer took over the company, the tide turned: one body after another rolled out of the closet, and in America Monsanto was sentenced to enormous damages. Monsanto proved to have been aware of the potential dangers of Roundup, but at the same time discredited scientists who pointed to it. Vincent Harmsen has been following the troubles around glyphosate for years, and sets out the evidence of its risks. Tonight he will also be performing in a documentary about the Monsanto Papers, which Zembla is broadcasting.

Glyphosate, best known under the commercial name Roundup of Monsanto, is a very controversial substance. Is the weed killer a major health risk or only deadly to plants? A court in California has gone on the side of “big health risk” and has awarded a plaintiff who sued the corporate fee for about $80 million. It's not the first time that the giant of seeds and agrochemicals has lost an important claim regarding the product. And an avalanche of other lawsuits seems to follow. The combined market value of Bayer and Monsanto is already lower than the value of each company prior to the acquisition.

Bayer may have to hand over assets, or borrow money on “unfavorable terms,” to pay the Roundup claims in the United States. This recognition, with which the company is now exiting for the first time, can be found in the 2019 Annual Report, which was recently published. Meanwhile, 48,600 cancer patients have filed a claim. They claim to have fallen ill by using the weed control Roundup. In 2018, Bayer took over the American Roundup maker Monsanto.

The purchase of Monsanto has brought the chemical and pharmaceutical company from Leverkusen, inventor of the aspirin, into one of the toughest storms of its 156-year existence.