Gramaxone is a brand name of liquid paraquat that is used primarily as an herbicide. While this is a powerful toxin that works on weeds, it is also highly toxic.
Numerous people who have been exposed to this toxic chemical have been sickened. Injured plaintiffs have been filing lawsuits against the company that manufactured paraquat products.
If you or a loved one have been exposed to Paraquat and have suffered any of the following side effects, you may be entitled to financial compensation:
- Kidney failure
- Lung injury
- Heart failure
- Organ damage
- Parkinson’s disease
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers help clients who have been injured by Paraquat exposure. Contact us today to learn more about the legal process.
Paraquat Is Even Deadlier than Glyphosate
Paraquat has been on the market in the United States since it was introduced in 1961. Gramaxone is the most commonly sold form of the product, although there are numerous makers.
Currently, the leading manufacturer of a Paraquat product is Syngenta. This company is a subsidiary under the control of a large Chinese chemical company (Ironically, Paraquat use is banned in China itself).
Here are some of the other companies that make Paraquat:
- Chevron Chemical Company
- Adama Group
- Altitude Crop Innovations, LLC
- Drexel Chemical Company
- United Phosphorous
- Helm Agro
- Sinon USA, Inc.
- Innvictis Crop Care LLC
Inexplicably, Paraquat is still allowed to be used in the United States. There have been scores of lawsuits related to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), but Paraquat is even deadlier.
While both are used to remove weed growth, Paraquat is far more potent, even if it has not been tied to cancer yet. The only reason why there are fewer Paraquat lawsuits is that fewer people are allowed to use it, and they must take far greater protections.
The Environmental Protection Agency has steadfastly refused to pull Paraquat off the market in the U.S. In spite of the deadliness of the chemical, the EPA re-licensed Paraquat when it came up for review. Even though the EPA imposed a host of new regulations, Paraquat can still be used in this country, in spite of all the known dangers.
Paraquat Has Even Been Used in Drug Prevention
Paraquat is so toxic that it was even used in the War on Drugs. In the 1970s and 1980s, the federal government encouraged its use from helicopters on marijuana fields in an attempt to kill the crops.
Paraquat was used for this purpose in both Mexico and Georgia. The chemical was used to try to kill marijuana plants after it successfully destroyed Mexican poppy fields.
The end result was that people who inhaled marijuana smoke that had Paraquat residue on it suffered lung damage.
Paraquat Has Been Banned in Many Countries
Paraquat has been banned in many countries in the world. The European Union forbids its usage. Even China (where many Paraquat products are made) has banned the use of Paraquat. The list of countries that are banning this herbicide is growing.
However, its usage has increased domestically, putting both workers and people in its vicinity at risk. The EPA has been sued by environmental activists, seeking to force a ban, but the agency continues to dig in its heels.
In fact, the EPA recently renewed Paraquat’s license after a review process. In the meantime, Paraquat endangers not just the people who apply it, but also those in the surrounding areas. It is not just in the air that they breathe, but it can also taint their clean water.
This is yet another example of our regulators being behind the rest of the world and bowing to the interests of big business as opposed to protecting the safety of individuals.
The Extreme Toxicity of Paraquat Exposure
Paraquat is a restricted use pesticide. Only certified applicators can use it. A certified applicator must be heavily protected when they apply these herbicides. Even skin exposure can cause serious injury.
As such, certified applicators must take the following safeguards when they spread paraquat:
- Avoid touching the herbicide under any circumstances
- Licensed applicators must wear chemical resistant gloves
- Always wear personal protective equipment when near Paraquat that cover the entire body
- Complete specialized training before becoming licensed applicators (now, a certified applicator must complete refresher training once every three years)
The Dangers of Paraquat Ingestion
In other countries, where Paraquat is readily available, the chemical has been used in numerous suicides. One does not need to even ingest medium amounts of the chemical to commit suicide.
Just a half ounce of Paraquat is enough to be fatal. The substance is one of the most toxic in existence. Governments in areas where the suicide rate is high have had to take extreme steps to protect the population from this deadly risk.
One measure of protection is safeguard additives to protect people from accidental ingestion. Some forms of Paraquat use blue dye to alert people that this is a deadly substance.
Paraquat Poisoning from Inhalation
If one does not directly ingest or touch the dangerous chemical, the main way of exposure is through inhalation into the lungs. Serious side effects can occur within hours or days.
Those who have been exposed over time are at risk of a long-term illness (as seen from the Parkinson’s lawsuits described below). Those who breathe this toxin into their lungs are susceptible to a number of illnesses.
How Paraquat Causes Kidney Failure
One of the major side effects of Paraquat poisoning is that one can suffer kidney failure within several days after the exposure. Some scientists believe that Paraquat can build up within renal tubular cells, leading to cycles of reduction and oxidation.
Paraquat can cause a build-up of creatinine in the kidneys. Creatinine is a chemical compound left over from energy-producing processes in your muscles.
Eventually, your kidneys filter this out of the body. Too much creatinine can cause kidney damage and lead to loss of renal function or complete failure.
Paraquat Poisoning from Food and Grown Products
People who have been exposed to Paraquat have not been the only ones injured by Paraquat. The spray leaves reside on food, leaving consumers are risk of Paraquat poisoning.
The chemical leaves a residue, and it can result in contaminated food. Consuming food that was grown in an area treated with Paraquat can be harmful for your health.
While research shows some of the danger, there is no conclusive evidence of concrete harms tied to eating food that has been treated with Paraquat products.
Nonetheless, Paraquat is still widely used on commercial farms in the United States.
Farmowners repeatedly expose their workers to a dangerous substance (although employers usually cannot be sued for this – to get financial compensation, you would need to sue the company that made the herbicide.
Signs of Paraquat Poisoning
Paraquat poisoning can set in either right after the substance is ingested or within several weeks. The chemical can be absorbed into your cells almost immediately after ingestion or exposure.
Here are some of the symptoms of Paraquat poisoning:
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney damage and failure
- Cell death
- Tissue death
- Liver failure
- Lung scarring and failure
What to Do After Paraquat Exposure
The most important thing to do after Paraquat exposure is to seek medical attention. A physician should examine you to figure out how serious the case is.
If you think that Paraquat has touched your clothing or body, remove the clothing and thoroughly wash your body with soap and water. Even if you have only come into contact with Paraquat and not ingested it, you still need immediate medical attention.
Always err on the side of caution in getting medical help because of the acute dangers of this chemical compound,
Paraquat Exposure and Parkinson’s Disease
There have been numerous research papers that have documented a high correlation between people who have been exposed to Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.
This is a degenerative neurological condition that often results from exposure to a toxic substance. While it can be partially controlled with medications, patients will still suffer serious side effects.
Parkinson’s disease is often called a “man-made pandemic” because it rarely occurs on its own without some sort of exposure to a hazardous substance. It is thought that chemical exposure alters brain cells and impairs their function.
In part because of dangerous substances like Paraquat, the rate of people with Parkinson’s disease in the United States is projected to double between 2010 to 2030.
There has been some speculation since the mid-1980s that Paraquat can be connected to cases of Parkinson’s disease. Research studies have shown that people who have been exposed to Paraquat are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at a far higher rate than the general population.
Parkinson’s disease can result in the following symptoms:
- Tremor. A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
- Rigid muscles
- Impaired posture and balance
- Loss of automatic movements
- Speech changes
- Writing changes
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. Even though the condition is not fatal, it takes quality of life away from patients.
Paraquat Litigation and Where it Stands
Currently, there is multi-district litigation that has been filed by plaintiffs who allege that they developed Parkinson’s disease after exposure to Paraquat. As of this writing, there are nearly 900 Parkinson’s lawsuits, and the number is growing.
The lawsuits have mostly survived a motion to dismiss. At this point, the court is choosing bellwether cases for the initial trials. Once they are announced, the court will set a date for these trials.
In the meantime, given the number of people who have been exposed to large amounts of Paraquat over the past six decades, we expect the number of cases to grow.
Damages in a Paraquat Lawsuit
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from Paraquat poisoning or exposure, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
These are the following categories of damages that you may be able to receive:
- Full cost of medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If the makers of Paraquat settle this case, the amount of expected damages remains to be seen, There are fewer plaintiffs in this lawsuit than in other mass torts, so settlement amounts could be higher.
Attorneys for Paraquat Exposure
If you or a loved one have been injured by Paraquat poisoning from exposure to this deadly substance, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the company that made this agricultural menace.
As discussed above, there are currently Paraquat lawsuits brought by people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after exposure.
To learn more about whether you can obtain financial compensation after being harmed by Paraquat, contact the attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury lawyers online or call us at (888) 424-5757.