German chemical giant Bayer reached a settlement to resolve a group of claims that its weedkiller Roundup caused cancer just before a trial was set to start in St Louis, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The new agreement concerned a lawsuit first filed in 2017 that featured dozens of plaintiffs from around the USA, including St Louis resident and lead plaintiff Earl Neal, who claimed he was exposed to Roundup while working for the St Louis City Parks Department and St Louis City Forestry Department in the 1990s, the report said.

Neal and other claimants alleged that their use of Roundup — at home, at work or on farms — had caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the St Louis Post-Dispatch wrote.

Bayer, which inherited the lawsuits following its 2018 purchase of global agrochemical firm Monsanto for US$63bn, denies claims that Roundup or its active ingredient glyphosate causes cancer, saying decades of independent studies have shown the product is safe for human use.

Bayer did not disclose the specific terms of the settlement, according to the 7 April report, and a lawyer representing plaintiffs in the case did not respond to a request for comment.

“We are pleased that the Neal case has been resolved as part of our continuing work to settle the Roundup litigation on reasonable terms,” Bayer said in a statement.

Roundup is used by farmers in combination with the company’s genetically modified seeds.