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Farming areas in the U.S. using large amounts of paraquat

Paraquat is a toxic herbicide that has been used in the United States since the 1960s due to its effectiveness in destroying weeds and grasses that are resistant to glyphosate - another chemical also known as Roundup.

Paraquat is sold under various brand names, each causing adverse health and environmental effects.

While over 32 countries have banned the use of this harmful herbicide, the United States remains one of the most consistent users of paraquat in the world, covering millions of acres of agricultural land every year. As disclosed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the estimated applied amount increased by 8 million pounds from 2006 to 2017, and it is currently on the rise.

It was reported that approximately 10 million pounds of paraquat are employed each year by agricultural workers, especially on the following crops:

  • wheat
  • citrus
  • peanuts
  • strawberries
  • almonds
  • garlic
  • sweet potatoes
  • corn
  • soy
  • artichokes
  • pears
  • grapes

Paraquat is not used in equal amounts throughout the U.S.; there are certain states where the herbicide is more prevalent, such as:

  • California
  • Texas
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Indiana
  • Georgia
  • Arkansas
  • Mississippi
  • Iowa
  • South Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Florida
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Washington
  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • Michigan
  • Wisconsin
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Kentucky
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • Minnesota

There are no paraquat products registered for residential use. Because paraquat is extremely harmful, it can only be used by licensed applicators who follow special training provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, which they have to take every three years. They also have to follow certain precautions when using the herbicide, such as wearing protective clothing. Nevertheless, the danger still stands.

Paraquat exposure and Parkinson's disease

Due to a higher risk of paraquat exposure, people who live in the states where paraquat use is more predominant need to be extremely careful with their health, especially if they reside close to farming areas, and look out for Parkinson's symptoms, which may consist of:

  • a tremor in hands, feet, or head
  • slowed movement
  • speech or writing changes
  • walking or swallowing difficulties
  • muscle rigidity
  • impaired balance and posture

Long-term exposure to paraquat is known to cause Parkinson's disease, an incurable neurodegenerative disorder impairing movement and communication generated by the loss of dopamine-producing neurons.

As a result of paraquat's increased toxicity, the Environmental Protection Agency instated in August 2021 a series of safety measures for the use of paraquat products intended to reduce the risks of exposure:

  • prohibited pressurized handgun and backpack sprayer methods on labels
  • added mandatory spray drift management language on labels
  • banned paraquat aerial application for all users and locations except cotton desiccation
  • limited the maximum application rate for alfalfa to one pound of active ingredient per acre
  • imposed enclosed cabs when the area treated in a 24-hour interval is larger than 80 acres
  • imposed PF10 respirators or enclosed cabs when the area treated in a 24-hour interval is 80 acres or less
  • set a residential space drift buffer and a 7-day restricted entry interval for cotton desiccation
  • restricted the entry interval for all crops and uses except cotton desiccation to 48 hours

People who were in extended contact with paraquat and currently have a Parkinson's diagnosis can recover financial compensation from the liable manufacturers who failed to warn about the associated health risks.

Outstanding support for people injured by paraquat exposure

The skilled team at Atraxia Law has over 35 years of experience assessing personal injury and product liability claims and will thoroughly evaluate the circumstances of your paraquat exposure, together with the severity of your Parkinson's, and establish your eligibility for a toxic exposure claim.

To learn more, please feel free to get in touch with us today by calling or filling out our free case evaluation form.