Every year, approximately one billion pounds of conventional pesticides are used nationwide to control weeds, insects, rodents, and other pests. These substances are used on 900,000 farms across the United States.
While the use of pesticides has numerous benefits, such as increased food production and reduction of insect-borne disease, exposure to these harmful chemicals is highly dangerous to the health of consumers.
Herbicides are the most widely used type of pesticide, and one of the most toxic is paraquat, sold under dozens of brand names throughout the country, such as Gramoxone, Blanco, Parazone, and Helmquat. Over 8 million pounds of paraquat are used by agricultural workers annually. Paraquat exposure increases the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by 200% to 600%, depending on how many years the person came in contact with the herbicide.
Not only are farmworkers at high risk of developing Parkinson's disease but so are their family members who live close to the crops sprayed with paraquat. Exposure to paraquat within 1,600 feet of a home increases the risk of Parkinson's disease by 75%. It is important to note that no two states use the same amount of paraquat, as it varies depending on how many crops there are.
California is the leading state when it comes to paraquat use, as it employs over 1.3 million pounds of the herbicide yearly, with three-quarters used in eight San Joaquin Valley counties alone. To put it differently, California uses paraquat on 9 million acres of agriculture per year. The following are the other states that use roughly 3 pounds of paraquat per square mile, which is a tremendous amount:
There are over 47,000 farms enclosed in nearly 9.7 million acres of land in Florida, where paraquat is often used. Georgia is the leading producer of peanuts in the country, and 99% of the peanut acreage in the state was treated with paraquat in 1999, which most farmers continue to do today. The acreage of soybean in South Carolina was 310,000 acres in 2020, and paraquat is widely available as one of the cheapest herbicides that can destroy unwanted weeds and vegetation. Some of Texas's main crops include cotton, sorghum, corn, soybean, and wheat. Approximately 500,000 acres of these crops are being treated with paraquat every year.
Despite the well-documented health risks, paraquat use in the United States is now higher than it has been in the past 25 years, rising nearly 200% since 2009. The increase has been triggered by paraquat use on weeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup. This herbicide is also very toxic, and exposure to it is associated with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Roundup is used on more than 5 million acres of crops such as almond, peach, cantaloupe, onion, cherry, sweet corn, and citrus in California annually. Still, Nueces County, Texas, has the highest glyphosate usage rate of U.S. counties, with over 1,100 pounds sprayed per square mile.
Atraxia Law has over 35 years of experience in evaluating toxic exposure and personal injury claims. If you were exposed to paraquat and developed Parkinson's disease, we encourage you to contact our expert team to determine whether you are entitled to financial compensation. The only documents we will request are evidence of your paraquat exposure and your medical records with your diagnosis.