Paraquat Lawsuits: Weed Killer Linked to Parkinson’s Disease
The commonly used commercial herbicide paraquat has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, a chronic and progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder that affects an estimated 750,000 to 1,000,000 Americans.
Paraquat is a potent weed killer used to clear fields in preparation for planting during the growing season, and it is sold under several tradenames such as:
Despite research indicating strong ties to Parkinson’s, the use of paraquat in the U.S. has steadily increased as weeds become resistant to RoundUp, another weed killer involved in high profile lawsuits (stemming from allegations that RoundUp is linked to increased risk of cancer).
Manufacturers of paraquat were allegedly aware of the linkages between their herbicide and Parkinson’s disease, yet they failed to inform the public and commercial consumers of these health risks. And they continue to sell these products here in the U.S.
If you have developed Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to paraquat, it’s time to consider joining others who are fighting to try and hold these manufacturers responsible.
What Is Paraquat?
Paraquat is a highly toxic weed killer that has been commonly used in the U.S. since 1961. Due to its toxicity, it is only made available to trained certified applicators for commercial use (“restricted use”) and must have a blue dye, sharp odor, and an added agent to induce vomiting (in case someone drinks it) when marketed in the U.S. The EPA claims that “one small accidental sip can be fatal and there is no antidote.”
Studies have shown that, in addition to this toxicity, paraquat exposure may be linked to Parkinson’s disease. In 2011, research conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center showed that people who used the herbicide developed Parkinson’s disease approximately 2.5 times more often than non-users.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement and is characterized by life-altering symptoms such as tremors, limb rigidity, gait and balance problems, and bradykinesia (slow movement). Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year, and there is no known cure or therapy to slow, stop, or reverse the progression of the disease.
Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s Disease?
There is strong evidence linking the use of paraquat to the development of Parkinson’s disease.
- The National Institutes of Health published research in 2011 showing that people who used paraquat developed Parkinson’s disease approximately 2.5X more often than non-users.
- A 2009 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that exposure to paraquat within 500 meters (approximately 1640 feet) of a home increased Parkinson’s risk for the home’s residents by 75%.
In 2016, the New York Times published an exposé linking paraquat weed killer to Parkinson’s, highlighting the banning of the herbicide by other countries and various research studies, as well as citing noted scientists’ opinions.
- “The data is overwhelming” linking paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, said Dr. Samuel M. Goldman, an epidemiologist in the San Francisco Veterans Affairs health system who has studied the connection.
- Freya Kamel, a scientist with a branch of the National Institutes of Health who has also studied the topic, said she found the breadth of the research “about as persuasive as these things can get.”
Is Paraquat Still Used in the U.S.?
Yes, paraquat is still widely used in the United States in spite of its connections to Parkinson’s. Although the European Union banned the herbicide in 2007, and China began a phase-out in 2013, paraquat use remains strong in the U.S.
The number of pounds of paraquat used on soybean fields was up by more than fourfold over the past decade, according to 2017 Department of the Interior data. In addition to soybean crops, paraquat is commonly used to kill weeds on cotton, corn, and wheat crops, as well as in orchards. This same data estimates that U.S. farmers currently use more than 10 million pounds of paraquat each year. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research claims that, “Despite its well-documented harms, paraquat use in the United States is at an all-time high over the past 25 years.” U.S. Geological Survey charts back this claim up and estimate a nearly 300+ percent increase in use between 2009 and 2017.
Who Is at Risk of Parkinson’s Disease From Exposure to Paraquat?
Research indicates that low-level chronic exposure to paraquat significantly increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease, which makes the farm workers and applicators who sprayed the herbicide on fields the most vulnerable populations. Also anyone who mixed the product and the “flag men” who signaled for the planes applying the weed killer were also potentially exposed.
However, families living near the farms may also be at risk since people can be exposed to paraquat through the air, and the herbicide can transfer to clothing and rub off on furniture. And there is strong scientific evidence that indicates that individuals exposed to the herbicide in their teens and young adult years had more than a twofold risk of developing Parkinson’s.
If you have Parkinson’s disease and believe that it developed due to your exposure to paraquat, call us immediately at 1-866-900-7078 for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Who Makes Paraquat?
One of the largest paraquat manufacturers, Syngenta, is headquartered in Switzerland, which has not allowed the herbicide to be used there since 1989. But the manufacturer continues to profit from producing the toxic herbicide and shipping it to the United States.
And Syngenta is not alone in profiting from the sale of paraquat. Two other paraquat manufacturers, GROWMARK and Chevron Chemical Company, have also recently been named in lawsuits alleging that these companies knew the linkages of the product to Parkinson’s disease but continue to sell the product.
Do I Have Grounds for a Paraquat Lawsuit?
If you were exposed to this lethal herbicide and are suffering from Parkinson’s disease, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the manufacturers of the chemical. Other plaintiffs have filed lawsuits that allege that paraquat manufacturers, such as Syngenta, GROWMARK, and Chevron Chemical Company, knew about the inherent dangers of paraquat exposure but failed to warn consumers about them and about how to avoid these dangers.
Contact us at 1-877-900-7078 for a free and confidential evaluation.
What Could a Paraquat Lawsuit Be Worth?
A lawsuit against paraquat manufacturers would likely seek compensation for the harms and losses you have suffered due to your Parkinson’s disease including:
- Medical expenses incurred
- Medical treatment needed
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
In a 2017 letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to ban paraquat in the U.S., the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council estimated that a person with Parkinson’s spends $26,400 per year on care.
Don’t wait and suffer in silence. Responsible manufacturers and distributors of lethal products should live up to their responsibilities, admit to the harm caused, and compensate eligible victims. Contact us now to review your potential case.
How Much Would an Attorney Cost for a Paraquat Lawsuit?
At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no out-of-pocket cost to hire us because there is no hourly attorney’s fee.2 We have successfully handled defective product cases1 and have helped clients seek justice when their health has been compromised after exposure to a dangerous product.
Contact an Attorney to See if You Have a Paraquat Case
Some in the legal and medical community are carefully examining the actions of paraquat manufacturers and critically questioning whether they knew of the health risks of their herbicide. If you’ve developed Parkinson’s after being exposed to paraquat, contact us or call us immediately at 1-866-900-7078 for a free and confidential case evaluation. Let us help you fight for potential compensation for the damage done to you or your loved one’s health.
The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin consults with a national network of attorneys on product liability, defective drugs, and defective products cases in an attempt to provide the best representation we can for our clients. Depending on the details of your case, our firm will likely refer your matter to another law firm with which we associate. We will only do this if we believe it is in your best interests and if you agree.