Syngenta AG, a Swiss chemical maker, payed $105 million to settle a class action lawsuit. The company’s weed-killing product contaminated U.S. water supplies with the chemical Atrazine. The lawsuit has been ongoing for eight years . It affected 1,887 community water systems serving more than 52 million Americans.
While the manufacturers deny that the herbicide poses any danger to humans, six states filed claims in 2009. So far, around 45 states reported Atrazine water supply contamination.
Because of this, the water supplies in several hundred communities were filtered for safe use. The filtering cost these communities millions of dollars and put the health of its residents at risk. The lawsuit claimed if this chemical was consumed in drinking water it could lead to reproductive problems, birth defects and other abnormalities. However, the company argued that no one was exposed to high levels of Atrazine that would cause these types of problems.
The $105 million settlement will be utilized in reimbursing the communities to recover the cost of filtration. However, the amount these eligible water systems may recover will vary. The amount is dependent upon factors including population and the levels and frequency of Atrazine.
Syngenta agreed to the settlement to avoid further legal costs. Under the deal, the attorneys working the case will likely collect nearly $35 million in legal fees.
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Source: Business Week