Bayer to discontinue lawn and garden market glyphosate-based products starting in 2023
Bayer plans to replace all glyphosate-based products in the United States residential market (lawn and garden) with non-glyphosate alternatives starting in 2023. Farmers, though, will be able to continue to use Bayer’s glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup brands), say Bayer officials.
“The active ingredients (that will replace glyphosate in the residential market) are well-established active ingredients,” says Liam Condon, president of Bayer’s Crop Science division.
What will be new is the way they are formulated, reported Bayer officials at a glyphosate litigation update to investment analysts on July 29. These registrations are pending approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says Condon. After approval is received, Bayer will be able to share more information on the components, he adds. Bayer will sell the new formulations under the Roundup brand.
“This is exclusively geared at managing litigation risk (from glyphosate-cancer lawsuits) and not because of any safety concerns,” says Werner Bauman, Bayer CEO.
Farmers who use Roundup and its glyphosate active ingredient in their crop production programs will see no formulation changes.
“Indeed, we know that farmers continued to rely on Roundup containing glyphosate to deliver crops to market using sustainable farming practices that produce no tillage, thereby reducing soil erosion and carbon emissions,” Bauman says.
Bauman added that Bayer is also engaging with EPA regarding labeling options for glyphosate-based formulations and providing more information to users about the science surrounding glyphosate. This will help to guide more informed purchasing and application decisions, Bauman says. Bayer also plans to launch a new website for fall 2021 with scientific studies that shed more transparency on the safety of glyphosate use, says Bauman.
Bayer officials stated the firm is also open to settlement discussion to resolve Roundup litigation claims and bring an end to litigation and liability risk. It also is appealing cases that it lost regarding development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by users. In August, Bayer plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Hardeman v. Monsanto case in which a California jury ruled against Bayer (which bought Monsanto in 2018.)
“We do believe that the Supreme Court should give strong consideration to accepting our petition, to review the Harmon case and render a positive ruling (for Bayer),” says Bauman.
That’s because matters have changed since the Hardeman v. Monsanto trial verdict was rendered in 2019. New studies and regulatory rulings prove that the science behind Roundup/glyphosate is on Bayer’s side, says Bauman. Bauman cites a brief filed by the EPA with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in which the EPA cites no human health risks of concern result from glyphosate.
Another finding for Bayer’s case includes conclusions drawn earlier this summer in the European Union by the Assessment Group on Glyphosate (AGG). The AGG has published main conclusions of its draft Renewal Assessment Report (dRAR) for glyphosate. The AGG’s conclusions are based on one of the most extensive and comprehensive scientific dossiers ever compiled for a pesticide product, say Bayer officials. Among other findings, the AGG reported that: “No chronic or acute consumer risk is expected from treatment of crops with glyphosate according to the representative uses for the current renewal process. Overall, the AGG concludes that glyphosate meets the approval criteria for human health.”
Still, the AGG’s conclusions are consistent with the conclusions of leading health authorities around the world, say Bayer officials.