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A group of NGOs has filed claims in an Austrian court alleging that German chemical giant Bayer withheld data showing health risks from exposure to its herbicide glyphosate, Phys Org wrote.

In September, the European Commission proposed renewing glyphosate’s authorisation for use in the EU for 10 years, after a report from the European Food Safety Authority saw no reason to block it, Phys Org wrote on 4 October, The move sparked a backlash from environmental groups who have said there was scientific evidence that glyphosate may cause cancer, poison aquatic life and be fatal to key pollinators like bees, the 4 October report said.

Those claims have been disputed by Bayer and some experts.

Prosecutors in Vienna had opened an inquiry in 2019 after NGOs filed suits alleging the herbicide’s risks, the report said.

As part of that inquiry, the Global 2000 association said it had given prosecutors new documents which it claimed showed that Bayer had not submitted research results indicating risks to the nervous system, particularly for pregnant women and children.

The association said it - along with Pesticide Action Network Group Europe (PAN Europe) - had submitted a statement of facts to the Vienna Public Prosecutor’s Office on 27 September.

“In its re-authorisation request, Bayer wrongly excluded unfavourable data or presented results in a misleading way” in an attempt to deceive authorities and the public, Helmut Burtscher-Schaden, a biochemist with independent Austrian environmental organisation Global 2000, told AFP.

Bayer, which sells the widely-used glyphosate under the Roundup brand, denied having “withheld any scientific studies”, saying in a statement that it has “always acted in a completely transparent manner”.

Since buying US agrochemicals company Monsanto, which owned Roundup, for US$63bn in 2018, Bayer has faced a series of court challenges.

In 2021, a San Francisco appeals court ordered the company to pay US$87M to a couple who claimed they got non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after using Roundup for years.

Glyphosate is classified as a “probable carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer at the World Health Organization (WHO).

“We thought it was important for decision-makers to know that the risk evaluations were based on incorrect or incomplete data,” Burtscher-Schaden was quoted as saying.

Global 2000 and PAN Europe joined France-based Generations Futures to lodge the latest filing, the report said.