ELPO Law is currently investigating lawsuits involving Parkinson’s disease in people who were exposed to the weed killer Paraquat.
If you or a loved one has or have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after exposure to the weed killer Paraquat and you want to speak to an attorney, you can use this contact form to get in touch with us. Don't wait. Cases have a statute of limitations and it is important to file suit in a timely manner.
Paraquat, known by the brand name Gramoxone and others, is one of the most widely used industrial herbicides on the market. It’s also one of the most dangerous. Just one sip can prove deadly, and no antidote can save you, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns. Even exposure to the weed killer through the skin or by inhalation can lead to Parkinson’s disease years later. As a result, makers of this popular herbicide are facing mounting lawsuits.
Paraquat is so dangerous that it is either banned or phased out in 32 countries worldwide, including China, the European Union, and Brazil. It’s still used in the United States, but it is restricted to commercial use only because it is so toxic.
Recent studies conducted by the National Institute of Health’s Environmental Health Sciences and the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center found that people exposed to Paraquat developed Parkinson’s disease up to 2.5 times more often than people who were not exposed to the weed killer.
Despite these risks, companies like Syngenta, Growmark, and Chevron continue to make and sell Paraquat, raking in profits topping $640 million in global sales in a single year.What is Paraquat?
Paraquat, also referred to as paraquat dichloride, was registered as an herbicide in the United States in 1964. It is used to control grass and weeds in many agriculture and non-agriculture sites. It’s also applied pre-harvest on some crops. It is used on plants that have become resistant to Roundup and other glyphosate-containing weed killers and is sometimes doused on illegal marijuana crops in the United States and Mexico. (In fact, some people have become ill after smoking contaminated marijuana.)
U.S. farmers currently use more than 8 million pounds each year on crops such as peanuts, citrus, wheat, soy, corn, almonds, artichokes, garlic, pears, strawberries, grapes, sweet potatoes, and cotton.Who is at Risk for Paraquat Exposure?
Since Paraquat is highly restricted, most people at risk for exposure are those who apply, mix, or load the weed killer, including:
- Farmers and farmworkers
- Agriculture workers
- Crop dusters
- Herbicide applicators
- Chemical mixers
- Tank fillers
In 1997, the EPA confirmed that the primary route of exposure to Paraquat occurred during the weed killer’s preparation, application, and post-application. To minimize exposure risk, those who work with the highly toxic chemical are required to use chemical-resistant gloves made of barrier laminate, butyl rubber, nitrile rubber, neoprene rubber, natural rubber, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or Viton. All must be equal to or greater than 14 mils. Applicators also must use respiratory protection and safety glasses that include splash guards. Mixers and loaders must add a full-face shield and a chemical-resistant apron.
Paraquat isn’t available for household use, but the EPA also said that individuals who live near farms where Paraquat is used might be exposed to the weed killer. In 2009, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology backed up this finding, revealing that people who lived within 500 meters (about 1,600 feet) of where Paraquat was used had a 75% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Coincidentally, the American Parkinson Disease Association reported that individuals who met any of the following criteria were more likely to develop Parkinson’s:
- Farming as an occupation
- Exposure to farm animals
- Living on a farm
- Exposure to pesticides
- Well water drinking
- Living in a rural area
Paraquat is manufactured by various agrichemical companies under different brand names. One of the most popular brands sold in the U.S. is Gramoxone SL 2.0 Herbicide, made by Swiss-based agrichemical corporation Syngenta. Chevron Corporation held the rights to sell Paraquat in the 1960s under an agreement with a company that Syngenta eventually purchased.
Other Paraquat trade names include:
- Para-SHOT 3.0
- Helmquat 3SL
- Cyclone SL 2.0
ELPO Law attorneys are currently investigating cases of Parkinson’s disease in farmers, agriculture workers, crop dusters, and anyone involved in the mixing, applying, or loading of the industrial herbicide Paraquat. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to Paraquat, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact attorney Jessica Shoulders at (270) 781-6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation about your case and to help you determine the next steps.