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Kidney failure and paraquat exposure

First produced in 1961, paraquat dichloride (commonly known as paraquat) is one of the most widely used chemical herbicides in US agricultural practices due to its efficiency in controlling difficult weeds and grasses. However, paraquat is a highly toxic substance whose use is restricted by the EPA only to licensed and trained professionals and is sold in the US as a liquid with various strength levels under several brand names, including Gramoxone, Blanco, Cyclone SL 2.0, Firestorm, and Helmquat 3SL

After it enters the body, paraquat is carried around the organism through the bloodstream and lymphatic system, severely affecting the lungs, liver, and kidneys, impairing their function. Increasing clinical evidence shows a high correlation between exposure to paraquat and the development of Parkinson's disease, leading to the herbicide being banned in 32 countries, including China, Brazil, and the EU.

Paraquat exposure can lead to kidney failure

Paraquat's hazardous nature is known for causing fatalities even if small amounts are ingested, and there is currently no available antidote. The EPA has noted exposure to this toxic herbicide as having life-threatening effects, with the CDC also highlighting its potential for causing long-term kidney damage

Since the kidneys are the main excretory pathway for toxins, renal damage can result from long-term exposure to paraquat. As it gradually builds up in the organ's tissue, paraquat poisons renal cells, ultimately leading to organ failure. Moreover, when the kidney's function is impaired, paraquat and other toxins cannot be adequately eliminated and travel to other organs causing further damage.

Paraquat manufacturers have been aware of the herbicide's toxicity and debilitating effects, yet they insist that their product is safe to use despite ample evidence proving otherwise. Besides the pending MDL class action lawsuit for Parkinson's disease, a lawsuit was filed in 2021 against paraquat's manufacturers in the same court for explicitly causing kidney injuries and failure. 

Paraquat exposure has a high correlation with kidney injuries

Over the years, multiple studies into paraquat's nephrotoxic effects have demonstrated that ingestion and exposure to the herbicide lead to permanent and debilitating kidney issues.

  • Acute kidney injuries (AKI)

Due to its capacity to affect electron transfer and oxidation in the organism at the cellular level, paraquat leads to the disintegration of tissues and membranes, leading to acute kidney injuries

  • End-stage renal disease (ESRD)

A cohort US study among pesticide applicators found an increased association between paraquat exposure at small doses and the risk of end-stage renal disease. Although mostly exposed indirectly, wives of pesticide applicators have also been reported to display a higher risk of developing ERSD, especially if their spouse frequently used paraquat.

  • Chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu)

Paraquat has also been associated with a condition known as chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology, which overwhelmingly affects farmworkers. Although its precise causes are unknown, researchers consider that certain factors may lead to its development, including working in high temperatures, dehydration, consuming heavy-metal contaminated water, and pesticides. A 2020 study dispels the validity of the first three causes, noting that they are not methodologically consistent, while exposure to toxic pesticides like paraquat in subjects with CKDu from different geographic locations was far more common.

Farmers face the highest risk of developing kidney issues from paraquat

Given paraquat's highly toxic nature, no level of exposure to this herbicide can be deemed safe since even small amounts represent a health hazard. Because it's a widely utilized herbicide in US agriculture, certain groups of individuals are more at risk of developing and struggling with kidney injuries following exposure to paraquat, including: 

It should be noted that these risks don't apply only to agricultural workers, and anyone who spends an extended period in an area where paraquat is used can also develop renal conditions. With paraquat use doubling over the past decade to more than 10 million pounds sprayed on US crops yearly, it's expected that increasingly more individuals will report kidney issues from this toxic herbicide exposure.

Quality assistance for paraquat exposure victims

With more than 35 years of experience in handling product liability and personal injury claims, Atraxia Law's team is ready to help individuals that have developed severe kidney injuries following exposure to paraquat. Although the process is tedious and complex, we are well aware of the physical and emotional suffering our clients struggle with because of their condition; as such, we aim to maintain your involvement to a minimum so you can focus on matters of more immediate importance.

We will only require proof of your exposure to paraquat and medical records attesting to your diagnosis to evaluate your claim's eligibility. If your condition results from products manufactured by different companies, we can help you file a claim with each liable manufacturer to obtain the maximum compensation your struggle entitles you to. For more information on how Atraxia Law can assist you, we invite you to contact us, and we will gladly provide you with any information you may require.

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