Syngenta and attorneys for several community water systems have agreed to settle litigation related to the herbicide atrazine to avoid what it calls “business uncertainty and expense of protracted litigation.” Water systems joining the class will be eligible for payments from a $105 million settlement funded by Syngenta.
In its statement released today, Syngenta says it acknowledges no liability and continues to stand by the safety of atrazine.
“The scientific evidence continues to make it clear that no one ever has or ever could be exposed to enough atrazine in water to affect their health. The plaintiffs acknowledge that they have not commissioned and are not aware of any new scientific studies relating to the safety of atrazine,” Syngenta says.
The proposed settlement agreement, which requires court approval, was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on May 24.
“This settlement is good for the company and the farmers who depend on atrazine, as well as our retailers, distributors, partners, and others who have been inconvenienced by this ongoing and burdensome litigation,” Syngenta says.
Syngenta says atrazine benefits American farmers by up to $3.3 billion and supports up to 85,000 American jobs related to farming annually. They add that it’s an important tool by reducing soil erosion by up to 85 million tons each year.
Litigation began almost 8 years ago when a group of community water systems claimed that Syngenta should pay to filter atrazine from their water supplies. Syngenta says plaintiffs were unable to come up with any new scientific studies relating to the safety of atrazine, and claims that no one ever has or ever could be exposed to enough atrazine in water to affect their health.
Any water system that has ever detected any amount of atrazine in its raw or finished water in the past or up to approximately 90 days after the date of preliminary approval of the settlement is entitled to share with the plaintiffs’ attorneys in a $105 million fund.