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How does paraquat exposure cause Parkinson’s disease?

By now, it is a known fact that exposure to paraquat increases the risk of Parkinson's disease significantly. However, you may wonder how paraquat exposure contributes to the occurrence of this progressive nervous system disorder.

Particularly, agricultural workers have a 250% greater chance of developing Parkinson's than the general population.

Paraquat is incredibly effective in destroying weeds and grasses that are resistant to glyphosate because it causes oxidative stress. Basically, it breaks the oxygen atoms from the cell molecules and kills them on a molecular level.

When a person inhales paraquat mist or when the herbicide is absorbed through the skin, it travels through the lungs or the stomach and subsequently damages a part of the brain medically known as the substantia nigra pars compacta.

This part of the brain is responsible for producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in how we experience pleasure.

Paraquat also decreases our unique ability to think and plan. Medical studies conducted on animals found that when paraquat reaches the substantia nigra pars compacta, it depletes the cells that release dopamine, and the same effect is believed to occur in humans when they are exposed to this herbicide.

The reduction of the cell number that produces dopamine is a telltale sign of Parkinson's disease in humans. When a large portion of the neurons that create dopamine are destroyed, the body is unable to maintain healthy levels of this neurotransmitter, which results in certain brain function impairments. Consequently, the primary cause of Parkinson's disease, which is a neurodegenerative brain disorder, is the loss of neurons that produce dopamine.

What are the stages of Parkinson's disease

Because it is a degenerative brain disorder, Parkinson's disease causes symptoms that increase in frequency and intensity over the years. There are 5 stages of Parkinson's disease, and with each stage, the progression of the condition will become more apparent:

  • stage 1: during this stage, people experience mild symptoms that do not usually interfere with their daily life, such as a tremor on one side of the body or a subtle change in how they walk.
  • stage 2: in the second stage, the symptoms worsen, resulting in a tremor in both sides of the body and thereby causing difficulty in performing daily activities.
  • stage 3: during this stage, people lose their sense of balance and, as a consequence, move considerably slower, with falls being more frequent and daily tasks such as eating or changing clothes becoming more difficult to perform.
  • stage 4: in the fourth stage, the symptoms become debilitating, and the sufferer will no longer be able to live alone, as they will require the assistance of another person to perform daily tasks
  • stage 5: during this stage, which is the final stage, people experience severe symptoms, including stiffness in the legs that prevent them from walking or standing, and will require permanent assistance in performing their daily activities.

File a paraquat claim with the help of Atraxia Law

With over 35 years of experience in assessing personal injury and product liability claims nationwide, the team of experts at Atraxia Law will carefully evaluate your situation and let you know whether you are eligible for filing a paraquat claim.

The process is quite complex, and it will require minimal involvement on your part and a family member can help you with the process.