Since 1961, paraquat has been one of the most commonly used herbicides in the United States. However, because of the toxicity it has, it is allowed only under restricted use. As a consequence, only commercially licensed users can employ it. The main purpose of paraquat is weed and grass control. In the country, the herbicide is available in the form of a liquid that has various strengths.
Since paraquat is so harmful, it usually has blue dye added to it so that people cannot mistake it for beverages such as coffee, a sharp odor to prevent individuals from accidentally ingesting it, and a special agent that causes vomiting in the case of swallowing. It is worthy of note that paraquat manufactured in other parts of the world may not contain these ingredients, which makes poisoning more likely. There are multiple ways of exposure to this herbicide, such as:
It is important to know that people who have the highest risk of exposure to paraquat are licensed applicators of this herbicide. When paraquat comes in direct contact with the lining of the mouth, stomach, or intestines, it immediately causes damage. After the herbicide enters the body, it spreads throughout every area of the body by traveling through the bloodstream and the lymphatic system. The most severely affected organs are the lungs, the kidneys, and the liver.
A 2009 medical study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that any exposure to paraquat within 1,600 feet of a home increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 75%. Moreover, another study conducted on people exposed to paraquat at a young age revealed that the risk of the participants coming to struggle with Parkinson’s disease increased by 200% to 600%.
Finally, in a more recent study from 2021, prolonged, low-level inhalation of paraquat implied a significant risk of Parkinson’s disease in mice. Because paraquat can easily reach the brain once breathed in, the herbicide can lead to the development of Parkinson’s disease over the years. In the summer of 2019, Representative Nydia Velasquez introduced the Protect Against Paraquat Act, whose purpose was to ban the use of this herbicide in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency has recently begun reviewing the dangers of paraquat and is to make a decision at the end of 2022.
Most people who are regularly exposed to paraquat are agricultural workers. It is important to know that if you were exposed to paraquat and subsequently received a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, you are eligible for filing a product liability claim against the manufacturer. For over 35 years, the team of professionals at Atraxia Law has been evaluating claims and is bound to provide you with quality services. Thereby, if you are a victim of paraquat exposure who struggles with Parkinson’s disease, we strongly encourage you to contact our experts, who will determine whether you qualify for filing a claim with the company responsible for your diagnosis. You should know that only people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease as a consequence of paraquat exposure are eligible for compensation.
Since paraquat is highly toxic, being around it is never safe, as even small amounts can be detrimental to your health. Regardless of the route of exposure, whether it is ingestion, skin contact, or inhalation, you may develop Parkinson’s disease if you spend time surrounded by this herbicide. However, there are certain categories of people who are at the highest risk of coming to struggle with this condition as a consequence of paraquat exposure, which refers to:
Thereby, agricultural workers are not the only demographic that is at high risk of developing Parkinson’s disease as a result of paraquat exposure, as anyone who spends a long time around it can eventually come to struggle with the condition. If you experience symptoms that may indicate the presence of Parkinson’s disease, please seek medical attention immediately. Similarly, if you have a family member who worked with or was around paraquat and experiences symptoms, you should encourage them to visit a doctor in order to receive a diagnosis. Only people who have a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease following paraquat exposure are eligible for compensation from the liable companies.
In 2016, the EPA substantially changed the conditions under which paraquat could be purchased, mixed, and applied, in order to minimize accidental ingestions and to reduce exposure for workers in the agricultural sector; but before 2017 anyone could mix and apply paraquat if they were doing so under the “supervision” of a certified applicator, which means hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers, none of whom had training or certification, mixed, loaded, and/or sprayed paraquat herbicide for years.
Key points to remember:
2009 - A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that paraquat exposure within only about 550 yards of a home may increase the Parkinson’s disease risk by 75%
June 2011 - A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that Parkinson’s disease was significantly associated with paraquat exposure
July 2011 - Data from the National Institute of Health (NIH) Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) study indicated that farmers using paraquat developed Parkinson’s disease approximately 2.5 times more often than non-users
2012 - The study "Genetic Modification Association of Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease" found that exposure to paraquat increased the risk of Parkinson's disease 11-fold in individuals with genetic variations
March 2016 - The EPA announced that it would be re-evaluating the adverse health effects caused by paraquat
December 2016 - A study published in Nature Chemical Biology indicated that paraquat induces protein and nucleic acid degradation that leads to oxidative stress and finally cell death. Oxidative stress and cellular pathologies also have been suggested to play a key role in Parkinson's disease
July 2017 - The Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council sent a letter to the EPA, urging the agency to deny the registration of this cancer-causing herbicide due to the strong evidence that proves that paraquat can cause the onset or accelerate the development of Parkinson's disease
2018 - the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program published its protocol for a review of paraquat dichloride exposure and Parkinson’s disease, which includes evidence that associates the paraquat-based herbicides with Parkinson’s disease
2019 - the EPA reviewed over 70 articles that uncovered various health issues including Parkinson’s disease, in workers who apply paraquat or enter fields treated with paraquat
2020 - A study published in the Environmental Health, June 2020, revealed the link between occupational exposure to pesticides like paraquat in agricultural workers and higher death rates from Parkinson’s disease
According to a recent study conducted by the Parkinson’s Foundation Parkinson’s Prevalence Project, the predicted number of people in the U.S. living with Parkinson’s disease will rise from nearly one million to 1.2 million by 2030. Occupational exposure to highly hazardous pesticides like paraquat brings about at least a 50% increased risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s disease.
The Farming and Movement Evaluation Study (FAME) found a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease in people who use this herbicide on a regular basis. Sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, this study revealed that environmental determinants such as paraquat exposure increased the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 2.5 times. It was conducted in 2011 on 52,000 licensed herbicide applicators and 32,000 of their spouses from North Carolina and Iowa, two of the states that currently employ the largest amounts of paraquat in the country.
FAME is a case-control study that is part of the larger Agricultural Health Study. There were actually 110 people with Parkinson’s disease and 358 matched controls that participated in this study. Additionally, the FAME study found that rotenone, another toxic pesticide, also increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The use of paraquat has been skyrocketing over recent years, as the employment of the herbicide doubled from 2011 to 2017. One of the main reasons for the increase in the use of paraquat is that it is very effective in destroying weeds and grasses that are resistant to glyphosate, another toxic herbicide that is commonly sold under the brand name of Roundup in the United States. Consequently, paraquat has become a popular alternative to Roundup, which is manufactured by Monsanto.
In the past, only 3 million kilograms of paraquat were used annually throughout the country, whereas now, the number increased to 7 million kilograms. There has also been a great increase in the number of diagnoses of Parkinson’s disease, which is undoubtedly a result of the increasing amount of paraquat employed by agricultural workers. Accordingly, the disease currently has a 107% greater prevalence than it had in the past.
In the United States, there are two major companies that manufacture paraquat, namely Chevron and Syngenta. However, there may be other, more obscure manufacturers of paraquat. It is important to know the brand names paraquat is sold under throughout the country, which are:
If you worked with one of these products or were around it, you are at high risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. For this reason, you need to keep a close eye on your health and, if you experience symptoms that may indicate the presence of this condition, we strongly encourage you to seek multiple opinions from medical specialists. Similarly, if one of your family members was exposed to paraquat, you need to pay close attention to their health and look for the signs of Parkinson’s disease over the years. In the regrettable event that you or a family member who worked with paraquat has a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, please contact our team of experts to assess your situation and find out whether you are eligible for filing a claim with the manufacturers of paraquat.
There are numerous aspects that need to be taken into consideration when filing a paraquat claim, such as:
However, the team of professionals at Atraxia Law will thoroughly assess your specific circumstances and eventually tell you with certainty whether you are eligible for filing a claim for paraquat exposure. They will subsequently guide you to a specialized attorney whose main area of practice is toxic exposure so that you can have your claim filed with the responsible paraquat manufacturers.
Your family member must have been exposed to paraquat as a farmer, farmworker, chemical mixer, tank filler, herbicide applicator, or as someone who lived in close proximity to a farming community. It is also essential to know when their exposure took place and when they received their diagnosis, as paraquat exposure claims have a statute of limitations, which refers to a timeframe within which you can file a toxic exposure claim. This statute of limitations varies by state and, thereby, if your family member receives a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, it is very important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible so as to not lose your right to compensation.
Usually, Parkinson’s disease affects the life of the sufferer to a great extent, which is another important aspect that will be taken into account when assessing the eligibility of your family member for filing a paraquat claim. Since this brain disorder is progressive, it tends to worsen over time, rendering the sufferer unable to perform simple daily tasks and consequently needing the help of another person. The routine of people who struggle with Parkinson’s disease will change drastically over the years, as their condition worsens.
Furthermore, your family member who suffers from Parkinson’s disease may no longer be able to hold down a job, which may take a heavy toll on their financial situation. They may also no longer be able to drive, another activity for which they will require assistance. All of these aspects will be taken into consideration when determining how severe their Parkinson’s disease is. The greater the distress it is causing to your family member, the larger the sum of money you will receive after you file a paraquat claim.
Lastly, another crucial aspect that will be taken into account when evaluating the situation of your family member is the medical expenses incurred by their brain disorder. According to estimates, the annual cost of healthcare for a person with Parkinson’s disease ranges between $1,750 and $17,560, depending on the severity of their condition. Consequently, the larger the medical expenses incurred, the larger the sum of money they will receive as compensation after they file a claim for paraquat exposure.
If the team of experts at Atraxia Law determines that you are eligible for filing a paraquat claim on behalf of a family member who is struggling with Parkinson’s disease, you will receive financial compensation following claim submission. The sum of money will highly depend on aspects such as the severity of their brain disorder, how much distress it causes to them in their daily life, whether they need a caregiver, and the medical expenses incurred by their condition.
Accordingly, the compensation can range between $10,000 and $200,000. Only financial compensation is available for victims of paraquat exposure, which they can obtain after filing a toxic exposure claim with the liable manufacturers of the herbicide.
The statute of limitations refers to the period of time within which a person can file a paraquat claim. It varies from state to state, ranging between 1 year and 6 years. However, for the majority of states, the statute of limitations is 2 or 3 years from the moment you receive your diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
If you fail to file a paraquat claim within this timeframe, you will no longer be eligible for compensation from the responsible manufacturers. Therefore, it is essential to seek legal assistance as soon as your family member has their diagnosis, as the process of evaluating their eligibility, as well as that of filing a paraquat claim per se, is very complex.
While the dangers of paraquat exposure have been known since 2009, it was only recently that people began filing lawsuits against the manufacturers of this herbicide. However, it is important to know that nowadays, a claim will be filed instead of a lawsuit, which makes the legal process significantly easier and faster. The following is a timeline of the lawsuits filed against paraquat manufacturers:
September 15th, 2017: Thomas Hoffman filed a lawsuit against Syngenta and Growmark in St. Clair County, Illinois, claiming that he had been exposed to paraquat from a farming community since he was in fifth grade. As a consequence, he developed Parkinson’s disease. The man died 23 days after the lawsuit was filed at the age of 63.
October 6th, 2017: Three more plaintiffs joined the lawsuit initiated by Thomas Hoffman in St. Clair County, Illinois, all of whom struggle with Parkinson's disease. They were Carroll Rowan of St. Clair County, who was born in 1928, Jerry Mills of Madison County, who was born in 1930, and Freemon Schmidt of Madison County, who was born in 1933.
March 17, 2021: Michael Joseph Kearns filed a lawsuit against Syngenta and Chevron USA in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The plaintiff used to regularly spray paraquat on farm fields around Danville, Illinois between 1964 and 1981, thereby inhaling and ingesting the herbicide. He was unaware of the causal relationship between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease, which was his diagnosis. He was diagnosed with this brain disorder in 2019.
The team of Atraxia Law has been evaluating personal injury and product liability claims for the last 35 years and we are ready to help you as well if you were exposed to paraquat and developed Parkinson’s disease. Please beware that Parkinson's disease is misdiagnosed in almost 30% of cases so second and third medical opinions are a must. While complex and tedious, the process will require minimal involvement on your part, as we are aware that most of our clients are in great physical and emotional suffering.
After you provide our team with evidence of your exposure to paraquat, as well as with your medical records as proof of your diagnosis, we will promptly evaluate your eligibility to file a claim with the liable company. If multiple companies are responsible for your diagnosis, you will be able to file your claim with each and every one of them to obtain the maximum compensation you are entitled to. For additional information, please feel free to contact our company and we will gladly answer your questions.
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