Paraquat is a herbicide that has been used in the United States since the 1950s. As one of the first systemic herbicides to be developed, it remains the most effective broadleaf weed killer available today.
The problem with this chemical is that it’s so effective at what it does, but unfortunately, there are some serious health risks associated with its use.
Because Paraquat can cause death if ingested or inhaled, even in small amounts, you should always use paraquat alternatives when possible.
Do you suspect that you have been injured using Paraquat or another weed killer?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys fight aggressively on behalf of injured victims harmed by others’ negligence and are actively prosecuting Paraquat lawsuits involving Parkinson’s Disease.
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Paraquat is a nonselective herbicide that kills all plant life. Unfortunately, it is also toxic to humans and animals when ingested or inhaled.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned the use of Paraquat in the United States for most uses, including those on lawns, golf courses, and parks.
However, if you live in an area where this weed killer is still being used, there are safer Paraquat alternatives that will help keep your family safe from harm!
There are several ways to control weeds without using harmful chemicals like Paraquat.
Some of these methods include:
- Manual removal (which can be time-consuming)
- Pre-emergent herbicides (which only work before the weeds germinate)
- Post-emergent herbicides (which kill existing plants)
The best way to prevent weeds from popping up in your yard or garden is with mulch and sanitation practices that prevent seeds from entering your property.
A Bigger, Less Obvious, Weed Control Problem
Paraquat has been used in commercial farming for decades in the United States. The highly effective herbicide kills perennial weeds and grasses with a single treatment.
But because the EPA banned Paraquat for most home use in 2007, there are now large swaths of the country where Paraquat is no longer legal for farmers to use.
This problem is that many of the weeds that Paraquat used to kill have developed resistance to other herbicides and chemicals.
It means that the weeds live and grow and destroy commercial crops, which leads to decreased harvests, food shortages, and higher prices for everyday consumers.
Paraquat is Harming Communities
Many rural areas throughout the United States were bathed in paraquat years ago before the EPA stopped most home use of the herbicide. Today, many of these rural communities are still struggling with the aftermath of paraquat use.
Residues from paraquat applications years ago have left behind a legacy of environmental and health problems. People living in these areas suffer from higher cancer rates, Parkinson’s disease, and other chronic health conditions.
Unfortunately, many rural areas close to large major cities have not become residential communities as developers have bought up farmland to build homes, townhouses, apartment complexes, and office buildings.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
If you live in an area where Paraquat is still being used, it is important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself and your family.
If you feel like your family is in an area where Paraquat is used, check with your local public works department, look for warning signs posted near fields, or talk with your neighbors to find out if Paraquat is being used nearby.
In areas where Paraquat is still being used, keep children and pets away from where it was applied. And always wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and gloves when traveling near fields where Paraquat has been applied.
Some ways to reduce your exposure to Paraquat include:
- Wear a mask when you are applying Paraquat
- Avoid the drift from an application
- Eat food in a separate area from where a weed killer is applied
- Keep children and pets indoors during a paraquat application
If you believe that your exposure to Paraquat has caused health problems, it is important to seek medical attention. You may also want to speak with a legal professional to determine what steps you can take to address any damages.
The Serious Side Effects of Paraquat
Paraquat is a highly dangerous and toxic weed killer used to control perennial broadleaf weeds and annual grasses on agricultural crops.
Unlike different herbicides, using paraquat dichloride is heavily regulated due to its high toxicity that can compromise human health.
The postemergence herbicide is among the best selective herbicides available for spray coverage. However, the product is labor-intensive, requiring license applicators to use protective eyewear and gear.
For years, the medical community has known the significant health problems associated with paraquat dichloride chemicals when controlling numerous weed species.
Some of the serious side effects include:
- Skin sensitization
- Respiratory tract irritation
- Liver and kidney damage
- Parkinson’s disease
- Lung scarring
- Heart injury
- Muscle weakness
- Acute kidney failure
- Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)
- Death from respiratory failure, liver or kidney failure, or low blood pressure
In some cases, Paraquat has been linked with Parkinson’s disease in countries where the chemical is used more heavily, such as in South Africa.
A study done in that country found that out of 1,766 patients with Parkinson’s disease, 9.3% were exposed to Paraquat.
The EPA has also investigated a possible link between paraquat exposure and lung cancer. A study published in the journal “Cancer” looked at the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) data, a long-term study of farmers and their families.
The study found that those exposed to Paraquat were more likely to develop lung cancer than those who had never been exposed.
While the EPA has not yet determined a link between Paraquat and cancer, the agency continues to investigate the issue.
What You Can Do to Help
Paraquat is a dangerous and toxic weed killer that can cause serious health problems. If you live in an area where Paraquat is being used, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family.
You can help reduce the use of Paraquat and other dangerous weed killers by participating in local community organizations. By speaking up and taking action, you can help educate decision-makers about the dangers of these chemicals.
And by making your voice heard, you can encourage green alternatives that are safer for people, pets, families, workers, and the environment.
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Is There a Safe Alternative to Paraquat?
As of now, there are no “safe” herbicides. Paraquat is one of the most toxic herbicides on the market, but it is also very effective at controlling annual broadleaf weeds. So the question isn’t whether or not it’s safe. The question is, what are the less harmful alternatives to Paraquat?
There are several non-toxic weed control options. Organically produced herbicides are formulated from natural components and can be substituted for Paraquat. Although organic treatments are less successful than synthetic pesticides, they do not harm people or animals.
Glyphosate, for instance, is a less hazardous pesticide to humans and animals than Paraquat. Other postemergence herbicides that are less harmful to people and animals include glyphosate.
The entire plant might also be treated with herbicides at specific developmental stages, ensuring that the plant absorbs as little of the herbicide as possible.
Weed control management using glyphosate weed control products on perennial weeds, annual broadleaf weeds, and other weed species could compromise soil health.
One option is to use organic herbicides. These weed management products contain ingredients derived from natural sources, such as plants or minerals. They are typically less toxic than synthetic herbicides, but they may not be as effective at controlling weeds.
Another option is to use herbicides less toxic to humans and mammals. For example, glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup weed killer, has lower toxicity than Paraquat. However, it is still toxic if exposure is over a short period (a few days).
Some herbicides can be applied to plants at specific growth stages so that the herbicide is less likely to be absorbed by the plant. For example, dicamba can be applied to plants in the flowering stage.
Finally, it is important to practice the safe handling of contact herbicides. Always read the label and follow the instructions when using any weed control product.
Is Roundup Dangerous for Residential Use?
Roundup weed killer contains glyphosate as its main ingredient, and it is very effective in controlling broadleaf weeds. But is it bad for you?
Roundup is a nonselective herbicide weed control product, which means that it will kill any plant that it encounters. Therefore, it makes it an effective weed killer for both agricultural and residential use.
The organic compounds found in organic pesticides (ingredients such as sulfur and copper) smell stronger than those present in synthetic herbicides (such as glyphosate), which means that they are more irritating and harmful to the eyes and nose, throat, and lungs.
Roundup is an herbicide that is less toxic than Paraquat. However, it is still toxic if exposure is over a short time (a few days).
Glyphosate is absorbed through the leaves of the plants, and it translocates to the roots, killing the plant.
Always read the label and follow the instructions when using any weed control product.
What is the Difference Between Paraquat and Glyphosate?
Paraquat is a toxic herbicide that is effective at controlling broadleaf weeds. Glyphosate is also a toxic herbicide, but it has lower toxicity than Paraquat and can control all types of weeds.
Paraquat is less effective on Roundup-resistant weeds because glyphosate will kill Perennial broadleaf weeds, Large annual weeds, and perennial grasses.
Paraquat is used to control weeds and vegetation, while glyphosate is mainly used to control unwanted plants. However, both are toxic when applied incorrectly or without protective gear.
What are Safer Alternatives to Paraquat?
There are several less harmful alternatives to Paraquat. Organically produced herbicides are made from natural sources and can be used as an alternative to Paraquat. Most organic treatments are less effective than synthetic weed killers, but they do not harm humans or mammals.
Herbicides that are less toxic to humans and mammals, such as glyphosate, can also be used as an alternative to Paraquat. Additionally, herbicides can be applied to plants at specific stages in their growth so that the herbicide is less likely to be absorbed by the plant.
Finally, it is important to practice the safe handling of herbicides. Always read the label and follow the instructions when applying any weed control product.
Chemical Alternatives: Natural Source Herbicides
There are several less harmful alternatives to Paraquat. Organically produced herbicides are made from natural sources and can be used as an alternative to Paraquat.
Most organic treatments are less effective than synthetic weed killers, but they do not harm humans or mammals. Herbicides that are less toxic to humans and mammals, such as glyphosate, can also be used as an alternative to Paraquat.
Hand weeding will always be required in landscape plantings. However, weeds should be removed as soon as possible before they have a chance to grow a substantial root structure and produce seed.
Frequent weeding is suggested – every 2 weeks – for annual plants. Hand weeding may be effective against annual weeds, but it can also prevent perennial weeds from establishing themselves fully. The constraints, of course, include the cost and availability of labor to do so.
Steam, Flames, or Hot-foam Weeding
Seedling broadleaf weeds can be destroyed by heat. Flame weeding effectively grows in hardscapes but should not be utilized near flammable mulching materials.
Flames weeding is feasible in various locations, including driveway cracks, between pavers, and amongst gravel mulch. Because you’re not actually burning the weeds, you don’t have to use a flame weeder. Instead, a quick touch of the flame will heat the water within the plant without flames.
Controlling Annual grasses, perennial grasses, broad perennial leaves, and perennial edges
After the application of herbicides, the leaves will collapse rapidly. Therefore, repeated applications are required for bigger weeds.
Flame weeding causes only foliage damage to grasses, perennial sedges, and perennial broadleaf weeds. Following treatment, these species of weeds re-grow quickly.
If flammable materials are discovered, steam or hot foam weeding is preferred to flame weeding. The effect is comparable to that of a fire. Commercial equipment utilizing pressurized steam or hot water and foaming agent are available.
These machines do away with the risk of fire, but they use about 60 gallons of water each hour. Additionally, because these devices generate incredibly hot steam and foam, accidental contact with either can result in serious burns.
Postemergence Herbicide Alternatives
Other nonselective herbicides may also be used to manage large and small annual weeds in landscape plantings. These postemergence herbicides with minimal soil residual toxicity include:
- diquat (postemergence herbicide Reward™)
- glufosinate (Finale™ and other contact herbicide products)
- pelargonic acid (postemergence herbicide Scythe™)
- Many “natural products” such as vinegar, acetic acid, fatty acids (soaps), and botanical oils
In addition to the three herbicides listed above, the product formulations of various pesticides (pest control), such as insecticides, fungicides, and other contact herbicides, are available to control small and larger weeds by inhibiting amino acids biosynthesis.
All these pesticides have a contact type of action. Typically, the pesticide won’t travel to the roots of the plants that have been treated with them.
If applied at the suggested rate and with thorough spray coverage, each of these other herbicides is effective alternative to control annual broadleaf weeds than using Paraquat. None of these treatments has residual soil activity (i.e., no preemergence weed control nor root absorption).
Reduce Your Chances of Paraquat-Related Parkinson’s Disease
For years, advocates from numerous Parkinson’s disease organizations have fought hard, wanting the US Environmental Protection Agency to ban Paraquat nationwide.
Paraquat is an herbicide that was first developed in the 1950s. It is a nonselective, contact weed killer that can cause severe damage to grasses, sedges, and broadleaf weeds. Paraquat is also a neurotoxin, meaning it can damage nerve cells.
Inhalation of Paraquat can cause lung damage, while ingestion can lead to serious health complications, including Parkinson’s disease.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of Paraquat’s harmful effects, the EPA has continued to use it in the United States.
Worldwide data has shown the direct link between paraquat use and developing Parkinson’s disease and other conditions.
If you are still using Paraquat, you can take steps to reduce your chances of developing Parkinson’s disease.
- Do not drink alcohol when using Paraquat: Paraquat is a neurotoxin, meaning it can damage nerve cells. By not drinking any alcohol while using Paraquat, you will limit your chances of further damaging your nervous system.
- Don’t smoke tobacco or marijuana when using Paraquat: Tobacco and marijuana contain toxic chemicals to the human body and should be avoided while working with Paraquat.
- Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when using Paraquat: PPE includes a long-sleeved shirt, pants, shoes, and chemical-resistant gloves. By wearing PPE, you are reducing your skin’s exposure to Paraquat.
- Be sure to follow the proper storage procedures for Paraquat: Paraquat is considered “restricted use,” requiring additional training and certification to purchase, transport, and store. To safely store this chemical, ensure it is in its original container with the label intact. Do not transfer Paraquat to any other type of bottle or container.
- Keep Paraquat out of reach from children, friends, and family members: If any type of person should come in contact with Paraquat, seek medical attention immediately.
The harmful effects of Paraquat do not discriminate. As a result, it’s best to take every precaution to prevent accidental ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption.
Have you Been Exposed to Toxic Levels of Paraquat?
Swallowing a single drop of Paraquat can kill.
If you or a loved one requires medical attention following exposure to Paraquat, make sure you call for help immediately. Alerting the emergency room know ahead of time about what has happened can ensure the staff is prepared for your arrival.
Be sure to tell the emergency room staff that you have been exposed to Paraquat before admitting yourself to the hospital.
You can also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention right away: difficulty breathing; chest pain; excessive sweating; increased heart rate; feeling lightheaded or faint; uncontrolled vomiting; confusion.
Paraquat is a severe skin and eye irritant. If you come in direct contact with Paraquat, quickly remove any contaminated clothing and flood the affected area with clean water.
Do not try to rinse Paraquat from your skin by scrubbing or using soap because this will only spread the toxins across your body.
Remember that coming in direct contact with the active ingredient in Paraquat does not always mean that you will experience symptoms. However, multiple applications of paraquat dichloride might be sufficient exposure to cause serious problems.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer to Initiate a Paraquat Parkinson’s Lawsuit
Have you suffered injuries from exposure to Paraquat, or have you lost a loved one through someone else’s negligence?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our product liability attorneys are legal advocates for victims injured by exposure to environmental toxins.
Call our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement ensures that you pay nothing until your product liability attorney resolves your case through a negotiated settlement or jury award.