Paraquat is a restricted-use pesticide only available for use by commercially licensed applicators. It carries severe health risks that have not been disclosed by manufacturers for years, being known to cause Parkinson's disease in agricultural workers.
Anyone who applies paraquat must be formally trained and accredited before mixing, filling, or applying paraquat. Still, the chemical has been sold and distributed without proper warnings, even for certified applicators.
According to recent studies carried out by the National Institute of Health and the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center, people exposed to paraquat are 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those who were not exposed to the harmful substance. Due to its high level of toxicity, paraquat has been banned in at least 32 countries. However, the use of this dangerous substance is expected to increase throughout the U.S., and so are Parkinson's cases due to paraquat exposure.
Paraquat poisoning typically occurs when swallowing the chemical through contaminated food or beverages. Workers who are in contact with the harmful substance are also susceptible to poisoning; consequently, one measure taken to avoid such circumstances represents the addition of a blue pigment so as not to mistake paraquat for a food item.
Other sources of paraquat exposure are inhalation and skin contact, which usually happens after long-term exposure, especially if the substance comes into contact with cuts, rashes, or sores.
Paraquat poisoning and paraquat exposure are different in their operating timeframes - the first one occurs immediately, and the latter represents a cumulative process.
Aside from the immediate effects of paraquat exposure on agricultural workers, such as nosebleeds, eye injuries, and skin burns, there is one less immediately apparent consequence - Parkinson's disease.
The Environmental Protection Agency determined paraquat primary exposure takes place during the mixing, loading, and spraying of the substance and throughout the post-application process. In recent years, paraquat was deemed a restricted-use chemical available to trained applicators. In addition, due to its high toxicity, in August 2021, The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a series of new safety measures for paraquat use:
Additionally, truck drivers who are not licensed applicators might be allowed to transport the herbicide under certain specific guidelines.
These measures aim to mitigate the risks of paraquat exposure and ensure the well-being of agricultural workers using the herbicide and people living close to farming communities where paraquat is used. When these directions become applicable, Parkinson's disease cases resulting from paraquat exposure will significantly decrease.
While herbicides like paraquat can help prevent grass and weed growth, they can also inflict severe health issues. Sadly, many employees in the agriculture sector are regularly exposed to highly toxic pesticides:
Pesticides like paraquat can be extremely harmful, depending on the level of toxicity, exposure length of time, and how it enters the body.
If you or your loved ones have been exposed to paraquat as chemical mixers, tank fillers, or herbicide applicators and received a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, it is crucial that you seek immediate assistance as the assessment mechanism is lengthy and complex.
The professionals at Atraxia Law will evaluate your situation and go to great lengths to establish if you are eligible to file a paraquat exposure claim.