What is Paraquat Herbicide?

An herbicide rising in popularity in the United States, Paraquat is a toxic chemical designed to kill weeds and increase agricultural yields. Those exposed to it may be affected by potential links to Parkinson’s disease

When you’re in the business of killing harmful weeds that would otherwise choke a field and ruin a farmer's yield, toxicity is a good thing. Paraquat sure is toxic – just one sip is enough to kill an adult human. The herbicide – first marketed and used commercially in 1961 –  is seeing a surge in popularity in the U.S., filling a hole left by the retreat of Monsanto’s Roundup.

Roundup use has decreased both as Roundup-resistant weeds proliferate and health risks associated with exposure have appeared. But Paraquat may link to a health issue as well. 

In 2011, a study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) discovered a possible link between exposure to Paraquat and a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease. Despite pushback and alternate interpretations of the data from Syngenta, a Swiss Paraquat manufacturer, further study has only bolstered this link. This includes a DNA study that identified a possible genetic pathway for Paraquat to cause cell-death. 

Lawsuits against Paraquat manufacturers are already underway on behalf of agricultural workers and farmers who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s after exposure to the herbicide. 

Growing Awareness Of Danger 

As the use of Paraquat skyrocketed in the U.S., other countries around the globe were taking the opposite tack. Paraquat has been banned in many countries, and is scheduled to be phased out in others. This includes countries where the herbicide is still manufactured for export to the United States — like Switzerland, where manufacturer Syngenta is based.

In fact, Paraquat has been banned across the entire European Union since 2007. China has announced that Paraquat will be banned starting September 2020. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is engaged in further review of Paraquat, and there is a chance that its use will one day be banned. For now, Paraquat can only be used by licensed applicators, and its use is widespread and growing. 

A Painful, Incurable Condition

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder. It affects a broad range of bodily functions related to movement. Parkinson’s is incurable, and symptoms progressively worsen for the remainder of the patient’s life. However, options such as medication or surgery may relieve some of the symptoms and allow patients to live a more normal life. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s symptoms may include:

  • Tremor. A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers. You may rub your thumb and forefinger back-and-forth, known as a pill-rolling tremor. Your hand may tremor when it's at rest.
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia). Over time, Parkinson's disease may slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter when you walk. It may be difficult to get out of a chair. You may drag your feet as you try to walk.
  • Rigid muscles. Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can be painful and limit your range of motion.
  • Impaired posture and balance. Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems.
  • Loss of automatic movements. You may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
  • Speech changes. You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking. Your speech may become more monotone rather than incorporate the usual inflections.
  • Writing changes. It may become hard to write, and your writing may appear small.

These symptoms can start off gradually, and early detection along with medical treatment can provide a better chance of postponing the worst symptoms. If you notice any of the above symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you should consult a doctor right away: both to rule out other possible causes, and to possibly get a jump-start on treatment. 

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and was exposed to Paraquat, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney. Lawsuits have begun against Paraquat manufacturers, and you may be eligible to file a claim and potentially win compensation. 

Potential Paraquat Victims Seek Compensation

Paraquat is a toxic chemical. It is deadly if ingested or inhaled by all mammals, including humans. Not enough care has been taken to protect the workers and farmers who use this herbicide. These men and women believed that if they handled Paraquat application properly, they’d be safe. However, evidence is beginning to emerge to the contrary.

Our attorneys are reviewing cases on behalf of patients suffering from Parkinson’s after exposure to Paraquat. If you or a loved one is suffering from this disease after using or being around Paraquat, we’d like to review your case at no charge. 

We have recovered more than $9 billion for our clients to date, and as the largest personal injury firm in the country, we are one of the few with the resources to take on major companies like the global manufacturers of Paraquat.

There are never any upfront costs with us, and you don’t pay anything unless we win a jury award or settlement for you. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.