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Connect the dots - Recognizing the symptoms of paraquat exposure

Paraquat dichloride is a chemical that has been used in various herbicide products throughout the U.S. since the 1960s as commercial grass and weed killer.

Its popularity is currently on the rise among American farmers due to the substance being affordable and highly effective on numerous crops, thus reaching a usage rate of approximately eight million pounds each year.

Nevertheless, paraquat products are so toxic that even:

  • ingesting only one sip can prove to be fatal, and there is no antidote yet available to stop the lethal effect. This prompted the addition of a distinctive, sharp odor and vomitive agent for such cases
  • inhaling it can cause lung scarring and breathing problems such as asthma and shortness of breath
  • coming in contact with exposed skin during application can also be incredibly harmful

While paraquat is only available to licensed applicators who are instructed to take specific safety preventive measures during use, epidemiological evidence highlights the causal relationship between prolonged exposure to the chemical and the development of severe health conditions, including Parkinson's disease.

Symptoms of paraquat exposure

Each type of paraquat exposure can bring about different effects. Thus, short-term symptoms can lead to:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • pain and swelling of the throat and mouth
  • abdominal pain
  • respiratory swelling
  • lung scarring

Besides the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, the devastating long-term effects of paraquat exposure can generate permanent lung damage or other severe conditions, such as:

  • heart failure
  • kidney failure
  • esophageal scars causing swallowing difficulties
  • respiratory failure
  • pulmonary edema
  • chest infection or inflammation
  • central nervous system damage
  • neurological tissue injury

Paraquat exposure through mixing, loading, or applying the chemical or after its employment represents the main type of exposure for agricultural workers. And coming in extended contact with paraquat, inhaling it, or living near areas where the herbicide is used may cause the development of Parkinson's.

This progressive, neurodegenerative disorder has no cure and inflicts a variety of symptoms that can vary from patient to patient, making Parkinson's a highly debilitating disease:

  • motor symptoms - tremor, limb rigidity, difficulty moving, muscle weakness, stiffness, postural instability, reduced swinging of the arms while walking
  • non-motor symptoms - cognitive and digestive disorders, pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, loss of smell, excessive sweating

The affected individuals gradually lose their ability to communicate and their independence, relying on the help of those around them to carry out their daily activities.

Coming in contact with paraquat and developing Parkinson's disease - A causal relationship

Since the use of paraquat has increased throughout the U.S., so have Parkinson's cases as a cause of pesticide exposure, putting farmers and farmworkers at risk, along with anyone living near farms that use the toxic substance:

  • occupational exposure - agricultural workers who use paraquat as part of their job are the most exposed, such as landscapers, farmers, railroad workers, pest control, and aircraft companies that apply pesticides
  • residential exposure and particle drift - people drinking contaminated well water and those living or working near farming areas where paraquat is used also face the risk of exposure

If you have employed paraquat in your work or have been in close proximity to the sprayed herbicide and display particular motor or non-motor symptoms, you may have solid reasons to believe that you have been harmfully exposed to paraquat.

All of the current and reviewed epidemiological data validate the link between paraquat exposure and Parkinson's disease.

Atraxia Law can help make the connection between your Parkinson's diagnosis and paraquat exposure

A Parkinson's diagnosis following exposure to paraquat may make you entitled to receive financial compensation for your suffering from the liable paraquat products manufacturers who were aware of the link between Parkinson's and exposure to paraquat and failed to properly warn users about the associated risks. The team of specialists at Atraxia Law will carefully review your case and establish eligibility for filing a toxic exposure claim.