New pesticide lawsuit against Bayer
Huge number of unreported cases in Brazil (Press Release)
The Leverkusen-based chemical group Bayer is facing a new lawsuit in the United States, because a child's cancer was most probably caused by the former Monsanto product Glyphosate. "There are cases like this – cases in which Bayer's pesticides appear to play a signficant role – all over the world. In other countries, however, it is more difficult to seek redress," stated Regina Sonk, expert on indigenous peoples at the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP). "Herbicides from Leverkusen are still widely used in Brazil – and it is especially the indigenous population of the country that is exposed to the pesticides, without using them themselves. At the same time, indigenous people are hardly able to access the legal system in order to defend themselves." Thus, the issue should be given more attention – also outside the United States.
Industrial agriculture is dependent on pesticides, although they are a constant threat for humans and the environment: "Tons of pesticides are applied to fields by airplane – and people living nearby are unable to protect themselves from the constant exposure," Sonk explained. "Glyphosate and other pesticides are a serious health threat, especially for children and elderly people." It is hard to estimate how many people get sick or die every year because of pesticides. A high number of unreported cases is to be assumed – especially in rural areas in the global south.
In the present case, a then four-year-old boy was diagnosed with a so-called Burkitt Lymphoma in 2016, a rare and especially aggressive type of cancer. The mother had used Roundup, a Glyphosate-product, in the garden – and now assumes that this was a major factor. Also, the indictment says that Bayer has been obfuscating the risks associated with its products for years. In the United States, Bayer is facing a wave of more than 120,000 court cases. An attempt to negotiate a settlement deal – with compensations adding up to 11 million USD – had failed. For the Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco, the proposal was not sufficient. Now, Bayer is planning to check whether Glyphosate products such as Roundup are safe for private use. However, it will still be available for professional use in the area of agriculture.
"The Leverkusen-based company is exporting a lot of suffering together with its pesticides. There must be an immediate ban on exports, especially regarding the highly harmful pesticides that are no longer legal in the EU. The authorities in Brussels have to act," Sonk emphasized.