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Weed Killer Paraquat Linked to Parkinson’s Disease


Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jul 21, 2021 in Personal Injury

Person spraying weed killer on cropsSince the mid-20th century, the agricultural industry has used Paraquat on crops due to its efficiency in clearing away unwanted weeds and grasses. While the herbicide is known to be extremely toxic if ingested, several studies in the U.S. are now also linking Parkinson’s disease to the prolonged exposure of Paraquat.  

If you or a loved one were exposed to Paraquat for an extended period and were later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Call our experienced class action lawyers today to learn what your legal options may be.

The consultation is free, and we do not charge you any upfront fees.

What You Should Know About Paraquat

Paraquat, which is commonly known as paraquat dichloride, is manufactured in many countries under different trade names. However, the most common is Gramoxone, which is the trade name used by one of the world’s largest agrichemical companies: Syngenta, a Chinese-owned company that is headquartered in Switzerland.

Paraquat was originally synthesized in the 1800s, but its herbicidal properties were not discovered until 1955, and later used commercially as a pesticide in 1962. Today, it is approved for use in about 100 countries.

Due to its highly toxic nature, the use of the herbicide is banned in more than 32 countries, including China, where it is still manufactured for export purposes only, and Switzerland, which banned its export in October 2020. The product is not banned in the United States but is highly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Reaction from the EPA

Several studies have linked paraquat to Parkinson’s disease, including one study that found paraquat exposure in your teen or young adult years led to a 200-600 percent increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Overwhelming evidence from these studies drew the attention of Parkinson’s disease advocacy groups, which began to mount pressure on the EPA to act on regulating the use of paraquat.

In 2017, the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council (PAC) sent a letter to the EPA asking for the chemical to be banned, citing these studies linking paraquat exposure to Parkinson’s. Following the letter from the PAC, the EPA proposed new safety measures for Paraquat use in October 2020 but has yet to ban the use of the herbicide.

Who May Be at Risk?

Due to the EPA’s tight regulations on the use of Paraquat, those who are most likely at risk are licensed Paraquat applicators, such as farmers and other agricultural workers. However, others may also be exposed to the chemical, as it is one of the most widely used herbicides in the country.

Paraquat is used on more than 100 different types of crops, including:

  • Maize
  • Soybeans
  • Potatoes
  • Cotton
  • Wheat
  • Oranges
  • Coffee
  • Almonds
  • Artichokes
  • Garlic
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • And more

Paraquat may lead to serious health risks if it is ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin, which is why the EPA requires the chemical to have a dye, odor and vomit-inducing agent in case of ingestion. Handling of paraquat also requires certain protective equipment for the user to prevent inhalation and skin absorption.

Legal Actions Taken Against Syngenta

Multiple lawsuits have been filed since the first links to Paraquat and Parkinson’s were discovered. One lawyer claims to have discovered internal documents showing Syngenta could have made its formula safer and knew about the risk of Parkinson’s, yet chose to cover up the information, according to an article in The Guardian in March 2021.

A product liability claim was filed for 12 people and their spouses who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The suit claims the manufacturer knew of the dangers and failed to warn users.

A lawsuit filed in March 2021 makes a similar allegation, claiming the manufacturer knew Paraquat raised the risk of Parkinson’s by two to five times the average. This lawsuit was filed on behalf of a farmworker who was diagnosed with the disease in 2015.

Questions About Your Legal Options? Call Today

As our team of experienced attorneys investigates the claims that Syngenta knew about the risks of Paraquat exposure and chose to ignore them, we are prepared to help answer questions you may have about the legal options available to you.

We offer a free consultation and do not charge you anything up front or while we work on your case. If you choose to work with us, you do not owe us anything unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.

Call Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak today at (844) 678-1800