Paraquat Side Effects: Why The Herbicide Is Extremely Toxic

Paraquat is the most widely used herbicide for agricultural purposes in the US, but it is highly toxic. Exposure to Paraquat can lead to long-term health effects or even death. 

If you or a loved one has been exposed to this dangerous chemical, you should seek medical treatment immediately. You should also speak with an attorney regarding your options regarding recovering damages. 

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC has decades of experience representing clients in personal injury claims. Our personal injury attorneys have recovered over $250 million in settlements for our clients who have been injured due to negligence.

Call our product liability attorneys at (888) 424-5757, and we will schedule you with a free legal consultation. We look forward to answering any questions and guiding you through the process and can help determine if you are eligible for the Paraquat lawsuit.

Medical Complications From Paraquat Exposure

People exposed to Paraquat have reported numerous concerning side effects such as Parkinson’s Disease and other medical conditions.

What is Paraquat?

Paraquat dichloride is a highly toxic herbicide commonly used in the farming industry. It is one of the most commonly used herbicides used for grass control and to kill weeds. 

It is usually produced and available in liquid form and is required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to include safeguard additives such as a blue dye and pungent odor. Paraquat exposure can lead to hazardous effects on an individual’s health.

Only licensed applicators are allowed to use Paraquat because they undergo training that teaches them the occupational safety guidelines that must be followed. 

Paraquat Exposure

Although the US continues to use Paraquat, there are over 30 countries that have banned Paraquat use entirely. There are clear dangers revealed in past cases where accidental swallowing has occurred. 

Certified applicators are the people at the highest risk of experiencing Paraquat side effects from exposure. Paraquat is widely used in the farming industry, affecting agricultural farm workers and people in the neighboring areas. 

The rural population near a farm that uses Paraquat has a significant chance of exposure through crop overspray and water runoff. Nearby residential areas and other agricultural workers in the area can feel the effects of exposure to toxic Paraquat.

The nearby water and soil are also at risk of contamination by the chemical. 

Products containing Paraquat are prohibited from being sold on the market to homeowners. The chemical is also not allowed in schools, recreational parks, and golf courses. 


Paraquat Poisoning

Paraquat poisoning can happen in a variety of ways including: 

Skin Exposure

Skin exposure is one way to come into contact with liquid Paraquat. If you have experienced Paraquat skin exposure, wash the area thoroughly and seek medical attention. 

If you have any cuts, a severe rash, or other skin conditions, Paraquat can have toxic effects. If the skin exposure lasts long enough, poisoning is very likely to occur.

Contaminated clothing with liquid Paraquat should be removed promptly as it is likely to also result in exposure. You should place the clothing in a bag and notify the state health department or emergency medical services (EMS) personnel of the contents. 


Paraquat can also be inhaled and cause lung scarring, other lung damage, and even respiratory failure. Breathing in the chemical can damage the stomach, mouth, and throat lining.

Paraquat Ingestion

Since 1988, the herbicide has been required to contain a blue dye to help prevent accidental ingestion.

Paraquat ingestion will usually affect the lungs, liver, and kidneys first. A person’s health, the duration of exposure, and the amount ingested are all factors that can determine how severe the side effects an individual will experience. 

The public needs to have education on guidelines to follow the regulations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in case of Paraquat poisoning
Paraquat Herbicide Dangers

Paraquat Side Effects

Becoming exposed to Paraquat can lead to adverse health effects. The effect of Paraquat depends mainly on the amount of exposure an individual has. 

Immediate reactions to Paraquat can include pain and swelling in the mouth and throat. The toxic chemical reactions in your body caused by Paraquat can profoundly impact your life and your family’s well-being. 

The long-term toxic side effects of Paraquat can be so severe that you may also develop depression, lose your job, and become dependent on others for simple tasks. 

Short-Term Side Effects

Other symptoms likely to follow quickly are nausea, vomiting, and other digestive problems. You should seek medical care as soon as you experience the first symptoms. 

These initial symptoms, including pain and gastrointestinal issues, may cause dehydration, low blood pressure, and other symptoms. Within a few days of the exposure, liver failure, heart failure, and kidney failure can occur in an individual.

Pulmonary edema can also result from ingestion or inhalation of Paraquat. The lung’s airways and alveoli will experience irritation and fluid buildup causing this condition to develop. 

Pulmonary edema requires immediate medical care because the condition can quickly result in death. 

Long-Term Side Effects

Some symptoms can last for a long time after exposure. Some symptoms that can result from long-term exposure, include long-term lung scarring, gastrointestinal symptoms, developing Parkinson’s disease, and other effects. 

Surviving Paraquat exposure can lead to severe long-term effects like kidney failure, lung damage, scarring of the esophagus, and heart failure. 

These long-term side effects can also result in death. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals who have ingested large amounts of Paraquat will likely die. 

Parkinson’s Disease

Some studies and research have shown that exposure to Paraquat is linked to Parkinson’s Disease. One significant study that was done by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the EPA is known as The Agricultural Health Study. 

This study shows a significantly increased risk for farmers who use Paraquat to develop Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s Disease is a disorder of the nervous system that can cause difficulty with balance, difficulty talking, stiffness, and other uncontrollable movements. 

Exposure can cause mutations in the brain cells and a loss of neurons that produce dopamine. The loss of dopamine can lead to loss of brain function, affecting movement in the body.

Other notable symptoms that can develop from Parkinson’s Disease include gastrointestinal problems, depression, and sleep disturbance. There is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, but treatment can manage symptoms. 

What To Do If Exposed to Paraquat

If you have been exposed to Paraquat, you should seek medical attention immediately. You may have no immediate symptoms, but you must consult with a doctor right away to address the Paraquat toxicity. 

There is evidence that liver failure, kidney failure, seizures, severe gastrointestinal symptoms, and death can occur within hours of the known exposure. If you have ingested Paraquat through contaminated food or drink, you may have to undergo nasogastric suction.

You may need to have oral administration of activated charcoal and other measures to remove the Paraquat in the emergency room. The medical staff will also be able to perform supportive care measures for symptoms and changes in your body. 

You will also likely be prescribed medications to help raise low blood pressure and help with breathing. 

You should also consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for guidance. A Paraquat lawsuit will allow you to recover damages, future expenses, and pain and suffering.

Lawsuits Involving Paraquat Exposure

At this time, there are over 700 lawsuits against two significant manufacturers of Paraquat. There are claims that Paraquat exposure has led to many severe symptoms. 

The two companies, Chevron Chemical Company, and Syngenta are facing lawsuits that include cases where individuals that experienced occupational exposure to Paraquat caused them to develop Parkinson’s Disease. 

The manufacturers are also being sued in cases where severe effects such as kidney failure, heart failure, liver failure, and lung scarring occur. Some families also have lawsuits to claim damages for the death of their loved ones. 

Contact an Attorney

The side effects that exposure to Paraquat brings are likely to be very severe. There are many cases where even small to medium amounts have resulted in death. 

If you or a family member has been affected by exposure to the herbicide, you should consult with an attorney. There are past and future medical expenses and other damages which should be addressed.

Speak with one of our experienced attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to receive a free case review. We are committed to providing the best representation possible to our clients. 

Contact us at (888) 424-5757 to receive a free consultation. Our reputable law group will be happy to assist you with any questions or guidance you may need.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.