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PARAQUAT | LAW OFFICES OF TIMOTHY L. MILES

Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. It is also one of the most dangerous.

Scientists have long known that paraquat, often referred to as Gramoxone, is acutely toxic. Paraquat is so toxic, in fact, that a single sip of the herbicide can kill an adult. But in recent years, evidence has accumulated showing that repeated exposure to paraquat in low doses may be linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease. According to one study, exposure to paraquat increases the risk of Parkinson’s by 150 percent.

More than 60 countries have banned the use of paraquat. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done little to restrict its use, despite growing health concerns and legal challenges over the herbicide’s connection to Parkinson’s. Syngenta, the main producer of paraquat, denies that there is a definitive link between paraquat and Parkinson’s.

But with paraquat use increasing in the U.S., agricultural workers and farmers continue to face exposure risks. Many have already filed lawsuits claiming that they developed Parkinson’s disease as a result of exposure to paraquat and that Syngenta failed to warn about this serious risk.

Picture of Almanac: The first crop dusting flight - CBS News

Almanac: The first crop dusting flight – CBS News

FAQs

How Is Paraquat Used?

Paraquat is widely used by farmers in the production of crops, including corn, soy, cotton, peanuts, wheat, almonds, strawberries, grapes, sweet potatoes, and others. Its use has doubled over the past decade and is expected to grow due to its effectiveness on “superweeds” that have developed resistance to glyphosate (i.e. Roundup). It can also be used for the desiccation of crops, such as cotton, prior to harvest. In total, farmers apply more than 10 million pounds of paraquat each year.

 

Because of its toxicity, the EPA classifies paraquat as a “restricted use pesticide.” Only certified applicators who undergo EPA-approved training are able to use paraquat products. There are no homeowner uses for paraquat and the herbicide may not be applied in residential areas or around schools, parks, golf courses, or playgrounds.

Is There a Link Between Parkinson’s Disease and Paraquat Exposure?

Scientific research has concluded that those who use paraquat are twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease in the future. Not only that, but those who live in an area where paraquat is used are also at risk, as the wind can carry the airborne chemical into neighborhoods and other populated areas. Despite numerous scientific studies into paraquat’s safety, the company responsible for the pesticide refused to acknowledge the potential risks and exposed thousands of innocent individuals to a hazardous chemical for over a decade.

What is the Scientific Link Between Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease?

Numerous scientific studies have linked paraquat to Parkinson’s. A large 2011 study of U.S. farmers found that those who used paraquat were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease as those who didn’t use the chemical. Other research has found that cumulative exposure over long periods increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s. Data published by Louisiana State University shows that a person’s zip code and proximity to cropland where paraquat is applied correlates with the risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Scientists believe that a deficit of the neurotransmitter dopamine causes Parkinson’s. Studies have demonstrated that paraquat can kill dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain. Inhaling paraquat, which could happen if workers come into contact with aerosolized droplets during crop spraying, gives it a direct pathway to the brain, say researchers at the University of Rochester. However, paraquat could also end up in the brain after ingestion or skin exposure. The CDC notes that, once paraquat enters the body, it is distributed to all areas of the body.

Who Is at Risk of Developing Parkinson’s From Paraquat Exposure?

Agricultural workers and their families are those most commonly exposed to paraquat. However, people living near farms and fields can also be exposed. The following people are at high risk of exposure: 

  • Farmers, farmworkers, landscapers, and agricultural workers
  • Families members of and any other people living with farmers, farmworkers, landscapers and agricultural workers
  • Residents of rural areas near farmland sprayed with paraquat
  • Anyone who works with or around professional-grade pesticides
  • Anyone who lives near places where professional-grade pesticides are sprayed

Is There a Paraquat Lawsuit?

Unfortunately, many individuals have developed Parkinson’s disease as a result of paraquat exposure, including those who live near agricultural areas where the harmful chemical is used. The widespread use of the substance makes it especially unsettling, as many farmers heavily rely on paraquat without understanding its destructive effects. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease due to pesticide exposure,  We can help you secure the compensation you’re entitled to.

What Is the Paraquat Settlement?

Syngenta knew the risk of their product yet failed to disclose it to the public, which allowed thousands of agricultural workers to expose themselves and their families to the risk of a life-altering condition. Those who suffer from Parkinson’s require consistent treatment to increase their quality of life, which is a significant expense to endure without proper compensation. However, by holding Syngenta responsible for their negligence, you can recover the medical costs, lost wages, and suffering damages warranted by your situation.

Do I Qualify for a Paraquat Lawsuit?

Many individuals are filing claims against the makers of paraquat, alleging the herbicide has either caused the individuals to develop Parkinson’s Disease or that the individuals are at an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease because of prior exposure to paraquat.

Lawsuits are being filed across the country, both in federal and state courts. Some cases are class actions, where one plaintiff serves as a class representative on behalf of similarly situated plaintiffs.

Other lawsuits are filed by individual plaintiffs who are not part of a class action but are part of consolidated mass tort litigation that includes numerous individually filed lawsuits rather than one large lawsuit filed on behalf of many.

Common plaintiffs in paraquat lawsuits are licensed applicators/users, agricultural workers who were exposed on farms, and individuals who did not work on farms but lived on or near farms where they were subject to secondary paraquat exposure. 

Does Roundup Contain Paraquat?

While Roundup does contain dangerous chemicals, it doesn’t contain paraquat. Crop resistance has lessened the effectiveness of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, which has led to the widespread use of paraquat in the agricultural industry.

Contact Us Today.

United States Map Showing Estimated Paraquat Usage for 2017.

RECENT FIRM PRESS RELEASES

Farmworkers Continue to Blame Paraquat for Declining Health Including Parkinson’s Disease, October 18, 2021

Class Action Alleges Link Between the Use of the Herbicide Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease. October 17, 2021

Reminder: Class Action Alleges Link Between the Use of the Herbicide Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease, October 9, 2001

Lawsuit Alleges Link Between the Use of the Herbicide Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease, September 23, 2021

 

PROPOSED LEGISLATION

The Protect Against Paraquat Act has been introduced by Democratic New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez. The legislation would end all registration practices for the substance. In the Senate, Democratic New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall brought forward the Protect Children, Farmers, and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2019. Both are being lauded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

“The proposed legislation is meant to prevent the use of toxic pesticides said to harm U.S. children, farm workers, and consumers,” according to an article in Parkinson’s News Today titled “MJFF Urges Support for Bill Aiming to Ban Herbicide Paraquat in US.” “One insecticide the measure seeks to ban, organophosphate, has been shown to harm the developing brain of children. Another, known as neonicotinoid, is linked to developmental defects and other problems in unborn children, and is tied to a global collapse of pollinating insects like bees. In a major development for the Parkinson’s community in particular, the measure would also prohibit the use of paraquat, estimated to raise the risk of Parkinson’s by 320%. This herbicide has been banned in 32 countries, including the European Union and in China, the country where its primary manufacturer is based.”