Paraquat is widely used as an agricultural herbicide and is known for killing weeds.
Paraquat is used by farmers everywhere, but some people worry that it causes Parkinson's disease. As a result, there has been an increase in lawsuits filed by individuals who have been affected by its exposure.
This article provides an overview of Paraquat, its connection to Parkinson's disease, and the options available for those who have been impacted by its use.
Also known by the name Gramoxone, Paraquat is a widely-used weed killer. It is designed to disrupt the photosynthesis process in plants, which is how plants create their source of energy. Disrupting the photosynthesis process kills plants, leading to cleaner crop fields for cultivation.
Paraquat dates back to 1955, and it was launched in the early 1960s. It quickly gained popularity and traction in the agricultural industry due its fast-acting qualities and cost-effectiveness.
However, despite its effectiveness, Paraquat is highly toxic to humans and animals. Ingesting even small amounts can cause severe health issues and even death, in some cases. Due to its high toxicity, many countries have restricted or banned the use of Paraquat.
Regulatory Stance on Paraquat: U.S. versus Other Countries
The rules and regulations concerning Paraquat are not the same in every country. Due to its extreme toxicity levels and potential health hazards, the European Union banned its use in 2007. Switzerland, China, and Brazil followed suit, either by imposing heavy restrictions on its use or banning use altogether.
Despite restrictions in other countries, Paraquat is approved for use under certain circumstances in the United States. In an effort to reduce the risk of harmful exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires anyone involved in handling or applying Paraquat to undergo specific training and obtain the appropriate certification.
The Link Between Paraquat and Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that affects movement and coordination. It occurs when certain nerve cells in the brain die or no longer function correctly. Scientific evidence indicates that Paraquat may contribute to this disease.
A pivotal study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed a notable correlation between exposure to Paraquat and a heightened risk of developing Parkinson's disease. The research established that those subjected to Paraquat exposure were 2.5 times more at risk.
This means that the people who work with or around Paraquat, such as farmers and other agricultural workers, have an especially high risk of developing this condition.
Legal Action Against Paraquat Manufacturers
Due to the mounting evidence linking Paraquat to Parkinson's disease, individuals and families who believe their health was harmed by the herbicide filed lawsuits against manufacturers. These claims suggest that Paraquat's manufacturers, including Syngenta and Chevron, were aware of its toxic effects but didn't provide adequate warnings or take measures to ensure user safety. Consequently, these corporations may be legally responsible for any harm induced by Paraquat.
This legal matter has gained significant attention and importance. Since 2017, over 3,600 lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts seeking damages for exposure to Paraquat products.
5 Steps to Take if You Believe You've Been Affected by Paraquat Exposure
If you have been exposed to Paraquat and you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s or other medical conditions, pursuing a lawsuit could help you obtain reimbursement for damages you've suffered, such as the recovery of healthcare costs, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering.
If you believe you might have a legal claim, take the following actions:
- Consult with a doctor: If you have been exposed to Paraquat and are experiencing adverse health issues, the first step is to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can perform relevant tests and attempt to determine whether your symptoms are connected to exposure. Your doctor can also document everything in a way that's suitable for legal proceedings.
- Document your exposure: Note down as much information as possible about how and when you encountered Paraquat, including where it happened and the frequency at which you handled the chemical. It’s also important to note whether you took proper precautionswhen handling the chemical, such as wearing masks or protective clothing.
- Gather medical records: Compile your complete medical history, including doctor visits related to Paraquat exposure. These records will provide essential documentation for establishing a link between the exposure and your resulting medical problems.
- Obtain employment history: If you've been exposed to Paraquat through your job, note as many details as possible, including the names and places with precise dates to show your contact with Paraquat over time.
- Consult with a personal injury attorney: Always seek legal counsel from a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling toxic exposure cases. They can advise you on whether you have a valid claim and guide your next steps.
The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer in a Paraquat Lawsuit
If Paraquat exposure has caused you or a loved one an injury or health problem, a personal injury lawyer can help you fight for your rights and get you the settlement you deserve. They will assist with gathering supportive evidence such as:
- Medical records that document your exposure to Paraquat and the resulting Parkinson's diagnosis
- Employment history to uncover potential exposure to Paraquat at work
- Witness statements regarding the use of Paraquat in your workplace (if applicable)
- And more
Armed with this evidence, a personal injury attorney can present a strong legal case on your behalf, arguing that your diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is directly related to your exposure to Paraquat.
Our team of reputable Florida personal injury attorneys serves the greater areas of Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, Plantation, Sunrise, Tamarac, and the entire State of Florida.
If you have questions or need help with a related claim, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation.