Scientists have long known that paraquat, also known as Gramoxone, is 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. Despite growing health concerns and legal challenges over the herbicide’s connection to Parkinson’s the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done little to restrict its use.
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 Paraquat manufacturer Syngenta failed to warn about this serious risk.
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 the dangerous toxicity levels, 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.
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.
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. Additional research has found that consistent 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.
Farmers and agricultural workers who work directly with and around paraquat are at the greatest risk of being exposed to paraquat. Exposure is most likely to occur in the following ways:
Exposure risks are not limited to people involved in agriculture, though. Evidence also suggests that paraquat can drift from the application site to nearby communities. Thus, people living in agricultural areas may be exposed to paraquat that is applied to crops. Paraquat may contaminate ground or well water and even contaminate fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains that are sold to the public.
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, Sternberg ForSythe can help you secure the compensation you may be entitled to.
Syngenta knew the risk of their product yet failed to disclose it to the public, which allowed thousands of agricultural workers to be exposed without any knowledge of the harmful side effects. 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.
Plaintiffs across the country have filed lawsuits claiming that they were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and that Syngenta’s herbicide Paraquat, is to blame. If you suffer from Parkinson’s after exposure to Paraquat as a farmer or licensed pesticide applicator, you may be able to file a lawsuit. A successful lawsuit can provide compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses or hardships.
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.