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How is paraquat regulated in the US?

Herbicides fall under the umbrella term of pesticides, along with other substances intended for pest-control or the elimination of potential threats to humans or crops, including insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, and repellents.

In the US these substances are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), empowered by the US Congress through The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) of 1947.

Due to the EPA’s notable discretion and authority to ban particular substances, the measures and process of direct and non-voluntary cancellations are not considered efficient. This in turn produces an environment that primarily depends on voluntary industry-led initiatives to ban or phase out chemicals that are deemed unsafe or potentially threatening.

The result of this approach, however, is that pesticides that have been outright banned or are in the process of being phased out in other countries can still be used in the US under a set of regulatory provisions. Such is the case with herbicides like paraquat which has been linked with the development of Parkinson’s disease.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies paraquat as a “restricted use” herbicide. This means that paraquat can be used only by licensed applicators.

Since the herbicide’s first registration, EPA has evaluated and reassessed its safety and uses, including undergoing registration review, a program that re-evaluates each registered pesticide on a 15-year cycle. In August 2021, the EPA approved paraquat's registration renewal for another 15 years, implementing several mitigation measures meant to reduce risks associated with exposure.

Even though the EPA publicly states that any connection between paraquat and the incidence of Parkinson’s requires further substantiation, the manufacturers of the product who also hold similar views have come under scrutiny and increased legal actions from affected individuals.

For example, Syngenta which manufactures paraquat has disclosed in its 2021 financial statement that it has settled a number of claims involving the substance with a value of $187.5 million. Since then more than 4,000 paraquat claims have been filed at a federal level, with legal experts estimating that the number of cases in litigation may potentially rise to the tens of thousands.

File a paraquat claim with the help of our team of experts

For more than 35 years, the experts at Atraxia Law have been successfully representing clients’ interests, leveraging the experience and knowledge obtained from assessing toxic exposure claims.

Providing us with evidence of exposure to paraquat and a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is the first step toward determining the eligibility of your claim. The faster you reach us, the higher your success potential.