Paraquat is a dangerous herbicide linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease, a severe, degenerative nervous system disorder. The symptoms start as minor uncontrollable tics that worsen as the disease progresses, affecting the patient’s ability to talk, walk, and control their movements. Sleep problems, mental and behavioral changes, fatigue, and memory issues are also common.
Paraquat is the active ingredient in Gramoxone, a popular herbicide manufactured by Syngenta. The company is now at the center of multiple lawsuits, with plaintiffs alleging Syngenta knew of the harmful effects of paraquat. and did not warn the public of the danger.
If you or a loved one was exposed to paraquat, you could be entitled to compensation. The experienced attorneys at Swenson & Shelley can review your claim and explain your legal options. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What is Paraquat?
Paraquat dichloride is an herbicide effective in killing weeds and grass. It is available in varying strengths in liquid form. Only licensed applicators can use paraquat because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified it as restricted use.
Due to its toxic nature, the form of paraquat marketed in the United States contains a blue dye, a sharp odor, and an added agent that induces vomiting. However, other countries might not use similar precautions while marketing their paraquat products.
Is Paraquat Safe?
Paraquat is dangerous if inhaled or ingested. According to the American Council on Science and Health, consuming as little as 2.5 grams can be fatal. However, researchers believe it does not have to be ingested to be dangerous, as some studies suggest exposure to paraquat can lead to Parkinson’s disease. Scientists believe the chemicals in the herbicide cause the neurons responsible for producing dopamine in the brain to die.
In a study published in the medical journal Environmental Health Perspective, using paraquat is positively correlated with oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. The results showed an increase in Parkinson’s among the surveyed group.
What is Paraquat Poisoning?
Paraquat is poisonous if ingested, causing damage to the mouth, intestines, or stomach. The lungs, liver, and kidneys are the most affected organs.
Initial symptoms from ingesting paraquat include pain and swelling in the throat and mouth, followed by abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that might contain blood.
Swallowing a small to medium amount of the substance can lead to complications within days or weeks, such as:
- Liver failure
- Lung scarring
- Kidney failure
- Heart failure
The following symptoms may appear hours to days after swallowing a large amount of paraquat:
- Liver failure
- Muscle weakness
- Fast heart rate
- Lung scarring
- Respiratory failure that could result in death
- Acute kidney failure
- Fluid in the lungs
- Heart injury
Inflammation and fibrosis of the lungs are the leading causes of death from paraquat poisoning. Even those who survive paraquat poisoning can suffer long-term medical problems, such as heart failure, scarring of the esophagus, scarred lungs, and kidney failure.
Is Paraquat Banned?
Although paraquat is banned in 58 countries due to documentation showing a risk of Parkinson’s disease, reproductive health issues, and cancer, the EPA hasn’t banned it in the United States. In 2021, the agency reapproved it for use for another 15 years.
Increased Paraquat Usage in the United States
The EPA issued a regulatory filing about the risks of paraquat exposure in 2016. The agency discussed plans to examine the link between Parkinson’s and the herbicide during its investigation. After assessing the benefits and risks, the agency decided farmers could continue to apply the weedkiller in the production of cotton, soybeans, corn, and other crops.
In 2020, the agency proposed regulations to mitigate the risk of exposure, such as:
- Requiring a 48-hour restricted entry interval (REI) for all uses and crops except cotton desiccation
- Requiring a seven-day REI for cotton desiccation
- Requiring enclosure for 24 hours if the treated area is more than 80 acres
- Prohibiting backpack sprayer and pressurized handgun application methods
- Limiting the alfalfa application rate to one pound of paraquat per acre
- Requiring a residential area drift buffer for aerial applications
- Limiting aerial applications to no more than 350 acres per applicator during a 24-hour period except for cotton desiccation
- Requiring mandatory spray drift management label language
- Requiring PF10 respirators or enclosed cabs for 24 hours if the treated area is 80 acres or less
- Prohibiting using human flaggers
Paraquat Parkinson’s Lawsuits
More than 2,300 people with paraquat lawsuits have joined a class action against the manufacturer and distributor of Gramoxone so far. The first bellwether test trial in federal multi-district litigation (MDL) is now scheduled for October 2023, allowing the completion of depositions of expert witnesses.
An MDL involving Gramoxone, a brand-name herbicide containing paraquat, is one of the biggest cases filed against Syngenta. Syngenta, which manufactured the product, and Chevron, the company responsible for distributing the product in the U.S., are the two primary defendants in lawsuits involving paraquat and the development of Parkinson’s.
You might secure a paraquat settlement if you developed Parkinson’s after exposure to the weedkiller. The money you receive could compensate you for your:
- Pain and suffering
- Hospitalization, prescriptions, and other medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
Call an Experienced Paraquat Attorney Today
At Swenson & Shelley, we understand the pain of getting sick from using a product you didn’t know could harm you. We are ready to help you hold the manufacturer liable and seek the compensation you deserve.
If you developed Parkinson’s or another medical condition after exposure to paraquat, call or contact us online for a free consultation with a paraquat attorney. Our legal team is available 24/7 to help.