A probable link between exposure to Paraquat (a commercial herbicide) and Parkinson’s disease is an increasing concern. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found a link between the use of Paraquat dichloride (an herbicide) to increased rates of Parkinson’s disease in agricultural workers, farmers, and their neighbors with exposure to the weed-killing agent. The NIH launched a study in 2011 of farmworkers exposed to the herbicide Paraquat and found they were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at a rate 2.5 times higher than those not exposed to the agent.
Parkinson’s disease advocates worldwide have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the herbicide Paraquat due to increasing evidence of its risk to commercial farm workers and those in close proximity to agricultural areas treated with Paraquat. In addition to agricultural concerns, a 2020 study of individuals treated for Parkinson’s disease found a clear correlation between the disease and the use of Paraquat in rural areas dominated by forestry, woodlands and pastures. Lundy, Law is interviewing commercial farmers, agricultural workers, and other individuals who have used the commercial herbicide Paraquat.
Were you diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease as a result of Paraquat exposure?
Those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease could qualify for a Paraquat claim review for a personal injury lawsuit/product liability claim.
Contact a Paraquat Herbicide – Parkinson’s Disease Lawyer today at 337-439-0707 or 800-259-1005.
What Is the Herbicide Paraquat?
Paraquat is an herbicide widely used during the mid-20th century, although it has documented use for over one hundred years. Available in the U.S. since the 1960s, Paraquat was used in the 1970s to attack South American marijuana and poppy crops because it was known as a “non-selective” instrument designed to kill nearly any leafy green plant upon contact.
Paraquat gained favor in agricultural communities for its effectiveness and has been widely used to eliminate crop weeds across large areas of farmland ever since.
Paraquat is a product of Syngenta, a Swiss-based agrochemical company. Paraquat is the active ingredient marketed under the brand names Parazone, Firestorm, Gramoxone, and Helmquat. It is among the most popular commercial farming weed-killing agents around the world.
Due to rising concerns of long-term health effects on those using the product and those in close proximity, the European Union and over 30 countries have banned Paraquat use.
It’s worth noting that in 2012 even China chose to begin a phasing-out of Paraquat’s use to mitigate potential health risks, according to an article in The New York Times. While China permits the production of Paraquat, it is only for export purposes. Paraquat is still sold in the United States; however, since 2016 the EPA has labeled it a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP), indicating it can be applied only by certified individuals trained in safe handling and application procedures, or individuals under the supervision of such an individual in agricultural and commercial settings.
The EPA’s classification of Paraquat as a RUP prohibits the purchase or use by the general public due to adverse impact on the environment, those who use the product, and those nearby.
How and Why Paraquat Is Used?
Despite the growing safety concerns, Paraquat remains one of the most popular herbicides on the market due to its cost and crop-weed killing effectiveness.
Paraquat is toxic if consumed or inhaled, which can easily happen during application, even inadvertently by highly trained individuals.
Paraquat is generally used in agricultural settings on more than 100 crop varieties, many of which are grown for human consumption, including soybean, orchard fruits, coffee beans, and nuts.
How Can Paraquat Exposure Occur?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes several methods in which humans can experience the herbicide Paraquat exposure, including:
- Skin exposure – involves a highly concentrated version of Paraquat over long periods through sores or cuts
- Direct swallowing or ingestion
Field workers who apply Paraquat to crops are at the highest risk of exposure and ensuing harm. Still, rural neighbors and adjacent neighborhoods may also be at serious risk of long-term effects because of its toxicity.
Does Paraquat Increase the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease?
In 2011, concerns regarding the connection between Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease earned increased attention when the NIH organized a study known as Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) to explore the possible links. NIH research discovered individuals exposed to Paraquat were nearly 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those without the herbicide exposure.
The Parkinson’s Institute 2012 study revealed that individuals with a particular gene variant experienced an eleven-fold increase in the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease following exposure to Paraquat.
A Canadian university published research in 2018 that suggested even low-level Paraquat exposure can impact cells similar in manner to the disruption seen in cells of Parkinson’s patients.
What Are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s is a progressively debilitating neurological condition that develops as the dopamine-producing neurons in the body begin to deteriorate.
Often undetected at early stages, Parkinson’s disease consistently affects the whole body in very significant ways.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- Most notable are tremors in the fingers, hands, or limbs
- Muscular rigidity
- Balance impairment
- Bradykinesia (slow movement, including impaired gait)
- Speech impairment, hesitation, slurring, and decreased volume
- Impairment of unconscious movements like smiling
Further symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can include cognitive impairment, vision difficulties, difficulty sleeping, gastrointestinal troubles, anxiety, depression, and sexual dysfunction.
While treatment can help through the developing stages, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive illness, where patients’ conditions inevitably deteriorate over time. During the final phase of Parkinson’s, victims are often wheelchair-constrained and eventually bedridden, needing constant care.
Parkinson’s Disease Advocacy Groups Take Action Regarding the Herbicide Paraquat:Regulatory organizations around the world are not the only ones to sound the alarm regarding Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease.
One of our nation’s most influential advocacy groups, The Unified Parkinson’s Advisory Council (UPAC), along with other organizations implored the EPA to ban the use of the herbicide Paraquat in the United States.
Among the prominent organizations that signed the UPAC’s EPA recommendation are:
- The Parkinson’s Foundation
- The Michael J. Fox Foundation
- The American Parkinson Disease Association
- The Parkinson Voice Project
The Unified Parkinson’s Advisory Council (UPAC) cited to two specific studies performed in the Central Valley of California that found that long-term exposure to Paraquat and a fungicide identified as maneb increased the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
They cited findings indicating that exposure occurring at a younger age were at a 600 percent increased risk of developing Parkinson’s.
Another study by a Central Valley group found that between 1974 – 1994 residents of rural area living near fields where the chemical combination was used saw a rate of Parkinson’s disease higher than those in the region not living near application sites.
In support of its recommendation regarding Paraquat, UPAC advocates also highlighted statistics that reveal the exceptional costs, emotionally and financially, encountered by those affected by the condition.
In their missive to the EPA, UPAC advocates quoted a study indicating individuals with Parkinson’s disease spend approximately $26,400 a year for their care, adding that Parkinson’s disease produces an economic burden of roughly $26 billion on the United States economy.
Is Compensation Available to Victims of Paraquat?
Manufacturers of chemical herbicides are required to produce products that do not pose an unreasonable risk to consumers and products free from defects.
When a product is categorized by risks known to its maker, satisfactory warnings must be provided to potential buyers and users. When warnings are insufficient, it is imperative that corporations that produce these products are held accountable for the life-altering consequences that ensue.
As such, individuals, and families of individuals that have suffered harm as a result of Paraquat exposure, may be eligible to receive financial compensation
The controversy surrounding Paraquat is not as well-recognized as that of Monsanto’s Roundup® herbicide; however, lawsuits are being filed by those adversely impacted by exposure to the herbicide Paraquat.
The first Paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuit was filed in September of 2017 by a man living on a farm in Illinois whose exposure began when he was a child and later received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
A subsequent Paraquat lawsuit was filed in the same circuit court in 2018, alleging a Parkinson’s diagnosis resulted from a man’s Paraquat exposure from a Syngenta’s product that failed to warn of the herbicides’ “known risks” led to his condition.
Additional lawsuits are finding their way into courts across the country.
Lundy LLP’s attorneys are currently investigating claims of individuals that suspect exposure to Paraquat is responsible for their emerging symptoms and confirmed diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
Contact Lundy LLP and find out if you are eligible to file a Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuit
If you are among the many who have been exposed to the herbicide Paraquat as an agricultural laborer, farmer, or someone that resided in a rural area where the herbicide was applied and subsequently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to recover financial compensation, call the product liability – personal injury attorneys at Lundy LLP for a free case evaluation 337-439-0707.