(Reuters) – Bayer AG reached an $80 million settlement with Ohio to resolve environmental damage allegedly caused by polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, made by the company’s Monsanto business, the state attorney general said on Thursday.
The funds from the German company, which did not admit liability, will be used for environmental cleanup, the attorney general said.
Monsanto, which Bayer acquired for $63 billion in 2018, never manufactured PCBs in Ohio or discharged them into Ohio waterways, Bayer said in a statement.
PCBs were once used widely to insulate electrical equipment, and were used in carbonless copy paper, caulking, floor finish and paint. They were outlawed by the U.S. government in 1979 after being linked to cancer.
Bayer has been trying to resolve a number of lawsuits related to Monsanto’s PCBs, which were used in commercial products from 1935 until 1977, when Monsanto voluntarily ceased production.
In addition to reaching legal settlements with states, the company reached a $648 million proposed class action settlement with about 2,500 cities and other local governments eligible as members of the class. Last week the agreement received preliminary approval from a federal judge.
Class members must decide whether to support the deal, object to the terms or opt out and pursue their own case, as the city of Los Angeles did earlier this month.
Bayer can withdraw from the settlement if more than 2% of the class members opt out.
Bayer also faces personal injury cases stemming from PCB exposure.
Two separate juries last year awarded a combined $247 million in damages stemming from exposure in a school in Washington state. Bayer said the evidence showed the plaintiffs were not exposed to unsafe levels of PCBs and the company said it planned to appeal both verdicts. (This story corrects paragraphs 5 and 6 to show there are about 2,500 members eligible for the class action, not thousands of separate lawsuits)
(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Susan Fenton)