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Parkinson’s Disease and Paraquat Exposure

There are over 1 million people who struggle with Parkinson’s disease in the United States at the moment and 600,000 individuals receive this diagnosis every year. While the usual cause of Parkinson’s disease is gene mutations in the nerve cells of the brain responsible for producing dopamine, the disease can also be the result of toxic exposure. Exposure to paraquat, a highly poisonous herbicide, increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 250% in people who use it on a regular basis.

Paraquat was first manufactured in 1962 and is employed for weed and grass control in a wide range of crops, such as peanuts, soybeans, potatoes, cotton, and sugarcane. Because it is very toxic, paraquat manufactured in the country has safeguard additives such as a blue dye to avoid it being mistaken for beverages such as coffee, a strong odor to prevent ingestion, as well as a special agent that causes vomiting in the case of swallowing. However, when this herbicide is manufactured outside the United States, it may not contain these additives, which increases the likelihood of poisoning.

There Is a Strong Causal Relation Between Paraquat Exposure and Parkinson’s Disease

It is important to know that paraquat is only employed for weed and grass control by agricultural workers and commercially licensed users, as residential use is forbidden due to the high toxicity of this herbicide. Exposure to paraquat can occur by ingestion, skin contact, and inhalation.

The majority of agricultural workers who use paraquat are exposed to it by inhalation, as they are usually not provided with protective equipment when employing it. Over the years, the poisonous vapors of paraquat damage the brain cells that produce dopamine, thereby leading to Parkinson’s disease. The most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • slowed movement
  • impaired posture and balance
  • speech changes
  • loss of automatic movements
  • writing changes
  • rigid muscles
  • tremor in hands, arms, legs, and head
  • stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • walking difficulties
  • difficulty swallowing

A medical study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2009 revealed that any exposure to paraquat within 1,600 feet of a home increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 75%. Furthermore, another study conducted on individuals exposed to paraquat at a young age found that the risk of the participants developing Parkinson’s disease increased by 200% to 600%.

Lastly, a more recent study from 2021 focusing on mice discovered that prolonged, low-level inhalation of paraquat entailed a considerable risk of Parkinson’s disease in the subjects. Because frequent exposure to paraquat causes the neurons that produce dopamine to die, the risk of Parkinson’s disease is very high for people who use this herbicide on a regular basis. It is important to know that if you came to struggle with Parkinson’s disease as a result of using paraquat, you are eligible for compensation. Our team of experts will thoroughly evaluate your eligibility and promptly let you know whether you are entitled to compensation from the liable companies.

What Are the Most Common Misdiagnoses People with Parkinson's Disease Can Receive?

Up to 30% of people with Parkinson's disease initially receive a wrong diagnosis, as the symptoms of this brain disorder mimic those of other similar conditions. For this reason, if you have a family member who experiences symptoms that may indicate the onset of Parkinson's disease, it is essential to encourage them to seek a second and even a third opinion from different medical specialists in order to be assigned a correct and precise diagnosis. Parkinson's disease is often mistaken for the following brain disorders:

Your involvement in the diagnostic process is crucial, as people who struggle with Parkinson’s disease usually have a difficult time clearly explaining their symptoms. Therefore, you will have to accompany your loved one to their medical appointments. If they receive one of the above diagnoses upon their first appointment, you will need to take them to another medical professional, as they are significantly more likely to struggle with Parkinson's disease than with those brain disorders if they were exposed to paraquat. If they receive a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, please contact us as soon as possible to have their situation thoroughly evaluated and to find out with certainty whether they qualify for filing a paraquat claim with the liable manufacturers.

The Use of Paraquat Is Expected to Increase, Which May Lead to More and More People Developing Parkinson’s Disease

According to researchers, the use of paraquat will increase within the following years, as weeds are becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate, another toxic herbicide sold under the brand name Roundup. Consequently, agricultural workers will have to employ a stronger herbicide, which is paraquat, as it is very effective in keeping weeds at bay. Therefore, the number of people who will come to struggle with Parkinson’s disease will inevitably increase as well, since exposure to this herbicide has a strong causal relation with the disease. We may thereby also see a greater number of victims of paraquat exposure seeking financial compensation from the companies that manufacture this herbicide.

In the summer of 2019, Representative Nydia Velasquez introduced the Protect Against Paraquat Act, whose purpose was to forbid the employment 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.

File Your Paraquat Claim with the Help of Atraxia Law

With over 35 years of experience in evaluating personal injury and product liability claims, the team of experts of Atraxia Law is ready to help you file a claim with the responsible companies if you used paraquat and developed Parkinson’s disease as a consequence.

Although the process is quite complex and tedious, it will require minimal involvement on your part, as we will take care of the majority of documents on your behalf, since we are aware that most of our clients are in great physical and emotional suffering. Eventually, you will know with certainty whether you are eligible for filing a claim with the companies that manufactured the herbicide you were exposed to in order to obtain the financial compensation you deserve for your related diagnosis.

For additional information, do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly answer your questions.

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