Paraquat Lawsuits Related to Parkinson's Disease
For decades, the herbicide Paraquat has been used by agricultural workers throughout the United States as a weed killer.
However, those farmworkers who have been exposed to paraquat have a risk of developing Parkinson's disease. A growing amount of research studies have begun to document the connection between the use of paraquat and Parkinson's disease.
This has led to court cases brought on behalf of plaintiffs who have developed Parkinson's disease.
If you or a loved one have had exposure to paraquat and have now been diagnosed with this degenerative neurological disease, you might be able to recover financial compensation via a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Paraquat. Contact us for a free consultation.
Paraquat Lawsuit Attorneys
The lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Attorneys can help you as you seek to recover financial compensation for the damages that you have suffered as a result of paraquat exposure.
Call us today for a free case evaluation. We are personal injury lawyers with a track record of fighting for our clients. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation to see how we can help you maximize your recovery under the law.
People Have Been Exposed to the Herbicide for Over Half a Century
Paraquat is the active ingredient of the herbicide Gramoxone. Paraquat was first approved for use in 1961 and has been used as an herbicide ever since. The extreme toxicity of the product makes it effective when farmers use it to control weeds.
It has been sold by various manufacturers since then as the rights to the product have been sold numerous times. In 2000, when AstraZeneca and Novartis merged, one of the conditions of the merger approval was that the companies divest the agricultural division. Before that, paraquat was sold by Zeneca. After the merger, Syngenta was formed.
Now, Syngenta is owned by ChemChina, which paid $43 billion for the company back in 2015. ChemChina would assume all the liabilities when it made the deal, including the legal responsibility for Paraquat exposure. While ChemChina does not release precise sales numbers, the global market for Paraquat was over $600 million in 2011.
So Dangerous it Can Only Be Used By Licensed Applicators
The extreme toxicity of Paraquat is well-known. The herbicide is commonly used in suicides in developing countries as ingesting even a small dose is fatal. The use of Paraquat might even damage internal organs through exposure to it.
In the 1970s, there was a major health scare when Mexican authorities sprayed the herbicide/pesticide on marijuana that eventually crossed the border to the U.S.
As a result, you cannot simply walk into a store and buy Paraquat. Instead, it can only be used by those who are specifically licensed to apply the substance according to EPA regulations.
How Paraquat Dichloride Works
Plants and weeds need a process called photosynthesis to grow. Once it is sprayed, Paraquat is absorbed into the ground, and it will interfere with and stop photosynthesis.
It stops the electron transfer that all weeds need to live and grow. By stopping photosynthesis and destroying cell membranes, Paraquat kills plants.
Parkinson's Disease in Those Exposed to Paraquat
While Paraquat is widely used, it has always been known to be dangerous. The European Union banned the herbicide back in 2007, and this was before studies showed the full extent of the dangers.
The most current health scare relates to Parkinson's disease studies and this widely used herbicide. The specific issue started with a study from the National Institutes of Health back in 2011. This agricultural health study showed that there are factors connected with Paraquat use that could make it more likely that those exposed could develop Parkinson's disease.
The health risks related to Paraquat exposure has lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue new restrictions for the chemical and pesticide use in the United States.
Risk Factors for Parkinson's Disease
Research has shown that one's environment can significantly add to their risk of Parkinson's disease. The illness can be caused by one of two things. First, genetic mutations can trigger the onset of the disease. Second, one's environment could cause Parkinson's.
This is because Parkinson's disease can be caused by a buildup of toxins that victims encounter in their environment. In other words, oxidative stress can cause certain neurons to degenerate over time.
Research Blames the Herbicide for Cases of Parkinson's Disease
The 2011 NIH Study caused a great deal of fear in farm workers. Exposure to Paraquat was always suspected to cause negative health effects, but now research backed it up.
The research study looked at 110 persons who had developed Parkinson's disease and compared them to other farm workers to see if there was any connection between the use of paraquat and Parkinson's disease.
The study found that subjects who were exposed to Paraquat were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson's than those who were not. The study also found that the herbicide contributed to an increase in production of certain oxygen derivatives that may harm cellular structures.
The study was considered more influential than previous studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that had more inconsistent results.
The Tie Between Paraquat and Parkinson's Was Further Developed
In 2018, a professor at the University of Guelph documented exactly how Paraquat could cause Parkinson's disease.
Specifically, the research showed that Paraquat disrupted cells in a manner that mimicked the gene mutations that cause the illness. In general, only about 10% of Parkinson's cases happen because of genetics.
This means that 90% of the illnesses could happen because people have been exposed to harmful toxins in their environment, making them more likely to develop Parkinson's.
Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease
Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease. Some of the symptoms can be managed with medication and therapy, and the onset can be slowed. However, patients who are diagnosed with the disease can count on losing much of their quality of life.
Here are the symptoms of Parkinson's and how it impacts the life of the patient:
- Tremors - this starts in one hand or foot when the body is at rest, eventually spreading to the other extremities and the rest of the body
- Rigidity - the limbs and the torso will feel stiff
- Bradykinesia - this refers to how the body will experience slow movement
- Postural instability - the body will be able to maintain a steady upright posture. This worsens in the later stages of the disease.
These are the four primary symptoms of Parkinson's . There are 19 other known symptoms that patients can suffer beyond the symptoms that could include tremors.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Refuses to Ban Paraquat
The EPA has recently had a rather weak record when it comes to regulating highly toxic chemicals. The same agency that refused to outlaw the glyphosate that was the active ingredient in Roundup pesticide has refused to outlaw the use of paraquat.
In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently approved a re-registration of paraquat in the United States, albeit with some new conditions. This is notwithstanding all the health risks and the fact that paraquat is banned in 32 countries.
Regardless, the EPA has stood alone against the rest of the world when a toxic chemical or pesticide presents an increased risk to farmers and agricultural workers. Even China, a country with its own questionable environmental record and the home of Paraquat's owner, has banned the compound.
Paraquat Usage Has Not Fallen in the U.S.
Paraquat is still used heavily in the Eastern part of the United States. As crops have become more resistant to substances such as Roundup, farmers are turning more to other ways to kill weeds.Notwithstanding the increasing amount of research that shows the dangers, more people are being put as risk.
Lawsuits for Risks Associated With Paraquat
The number of Paraquat lawsuit cases continues to grow, although plaintiffs are just getting started in filing these cases. This is not a law case of a product that was used years ago and has largely been discontinued.
This means that numerous people will be sickened by Paraquat. Syngenta and Growmark are among the companies that are defendants in these cases.
If you or a loved one have been sickened by Paraquat, it is critical that you contact us to discuss your legal rights.
A Recent Lawsuit Explains the Case Against the Herbicide's Manufacturers
In January 2021, an Illinois crop duster filed a lawsuit against the following defendants that were involved in the manufacture and sale of the Paraquat that allegedly sickened him:
- Phillips Chemical
The lawsuit claims that the plaintiff worked in fields from 1969-1981. During that time, he was regularly exposed to Paraquat and ingested it and inhaled it as it was sprayed on the farm fields.
In 2019, the plaintiff was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The lawsuit alleges that the makers of the herbicide failed to warn that exposure to Paraquat could sicken people.
Here, one of the major issues is that Paraquat drifts when it is sprayed, and it can lead to a higher risk of developing Parkinson's among people in neighboring fields.
Paraquat Lawsuit Numbers Are Growing Throughout the United States
As of now, there are still a smaller number of cases against Syngenta and Growmark because the research has only recently revealed the risk of developing Parkinson's disease from exposure to Paraquat.
However, we expect this number to grow as more people learn that they have been sickened by the toxic pesticide. Parkinson's disease can develop over time, and people can be sickened even decades after exposure.
One of the first cases involving the herbicide Paraquat was filed in St. Clair County, Illinois. It also claims that the manufacturers failed to warn them of the dangers of paraquat dichloride. Eventually, there may be enough lawsuits for multi-district litigation. This is where cases are consolidated in one federal court for purposes of discovery.
As of now, these Paraquat lawsuits are still in their earlier phases. There have been no jury verdicts against Syngenta and Growmark or any cases that have been settled.
Frequently Asked Questions About a Paraquat Lawsuit
Here are the answers to some questions that we are commonly asked about these lawsuits. As more news about the connection between Paraquat and Parkinson's disease has emerged, we receive a growing number of calls asking us to file a lawsuit against Paraquat manufacturers.
Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.
I was Exposed to Paraquat. Am I Likely to Develop Parkinson's?
While studies have shown that those exposed to Paraquat contract Parkinson's at 2.5 times the rate of normal people, this does not mean that you would definitely develop the disease.
Nonetheless, you should be on the lookout for any symptoms and seek immediate medical attention if you experience anything that could be consistent with Parkinson's.
I Was Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. What Should I Do Now?
Of course, your health is a priority. Make sure that you are getting the medical care that you need because you may be able to slow the onset of symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
After that, you should look to hire an attorney to see if you may be eligible for financial compensation. The sooner you exercise your legal rights, the more of a chance that your case will be heard. A Paraquat lawsuit attorney will not cost you anything since the attorney works on a contingency basis.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Your damages award may include both economic and non-economic aspects. You can receive money to pay you back for all aspects of your experience, including what you have spent in care and missed out on in paychecks.
Here is some of what you may be eligible to receive in a Paraquat lawsuit:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Costs of rehabilitation and home care
I Used Paraquat Years Ago. Can I Sue Now?
Courts will understand that your exposure to the toxic chemical happened years ago. The statute of limitations to file a paraquat lawsuit only begins to run from the time that you knew or should have known that you had Parkinson's disease.
In other words, you can still file a paraquat lawsuit many years after exposure to the herbicide because it takes that long for the disease to develop and progress.
Attorneys for People Injured from Paraquat Exposure
If you or a loved one have been exposed to Paraquat and have now been diagnosed with Parkinson's, under the law you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit (Paraquat lawsuit) against the company that made the defective product. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.
First, you need to consult with an attorney to find out how the law would apply to your case. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, we are experienced product liability attorneys who have helped families where people have been sickened by exposure to toxic substances. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.