Farm tractor spraying Paraquat herbicide in a field.

Paraquat Lawsuit | Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuit

Paraquat is a commercial strength weed killer linked to Parkinson’s disease. If you or anyone you know were exposed to Paraquat and diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact an attorney to check eligibility.

What is Paraquat and What is it Used For?

Paraquat, or Paraquat dichloride, is a toxic chemical used to kill grass, unwanted vegetation, and weeds. Although it is banned in many countries, it is still one of the most widely used herbicides in the world.

Paraquat is legal in the United States, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies the herbicide as a “restricted use” chemical. This means that the chemical can only be used and bought by licensed users such as commercial farmers.

How to Know if You’ve Been Exposed to the Paraquat Herbicide

There are many ways that people can be exposed to Paraquat, according to the CDC, including:

  • Swallowing or ingesting the chemical
  • Skin exposure
  • Inhalation
  • Eating or drinking Paraquat-contaminated beverages or food, since the chemical can mix with water, food, and other beverages

What Herbicides Containing Paraquat?

The products that contain Paraquat dichloride as an active ingredient may be known to growers under the following names:

  • Firestorm
  • Hemquat
  • Parazone
  • Gramoxone
  • Para-Shot 3.0
  • Blanco
  • Devour
  • Tota-col

Who is at Risk of Paraquat Exposure?

In general, licensed applicators of Paraquat are the ones that are most likely at risk of exposure.

But, because the chemical is often sprayed on open fields, there are quite a few other individuals and handlers that are also susceptible to exposure, including:

  • Farmers, farmworkers, landscapers, and agricultural workers
  • Residents of rural areas near farmland sprayed with Paraquat
  • Anyone who works with or around professional-grade pesticides

Paraquat Symptoms of Poisoning

Triangular black and yellow poison warning sign with skull and crossbones.

Immediately after a person ingests a significant amount of Paraquat, they are likely to have swelling and pain in the mouth and throat. This pain will most likely be followed by gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea which may become bloody, and abdominal pain.

There are other common symptoms that can also indicate an individual has been poisoned by Paraquat. Symptoms differ depending on whether a small-to-medium amount or large amount of the chemical was ingested.

For small-to-medium amounts, the following health effects may develop over the course of several days or weeks:

  • Lung Scarring
  • Liver Failure
  • Kidney Failure
  • Heart Failure

For large amounts of Paraquat, the following symptoms could develop in just a few hours or days:

  • Fatal respiratory failure
  • Lung scarring
  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Coma
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusion

Paraquat Links to Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder where brain cells progressively die. Although the link between Paraquat and the disease continues to be researched, scientists have suggested a possible connection between the herbicide and an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Studies even show that farmers exposed to these herbicides and pesticides have a 170% greater risk of developing the disease than other non-farmers. The longer the farmers work with these pesticides, the greater their risk of Parkinson’s Disease.

Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Even though there are a variety of common symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease, they can vary significantly from individual to individual in terms of progress and intensity.

The more common motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Rigidity
  • Slowed movement
  • Dizziness
  • Falls
  • Feeling like you are freezing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dystonia (repetitive or twisting movements caused by Involuntary muscle contractions)
  • Tremors

Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Since Parkinson’s disease is a type of movement disorder, the non-motor symptoms associated with the disease are often overlooked. Yet, there are several common non-motor symptoms that can arise, including:

  • Disturbances in the sense of smell
  • Sleeping problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Psychosis
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Cognitive changes
  • Personality changes

How Long Does it Take to be Impacted By Paraquat Exposure with Parkinson’s?

Researchers have confirmed that low-level chronic exposure to Paraquat can significantly increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. In fact, studies have found that individuals who experienced extended exposure to Paraquat as teens or young adults have a 200-600% increase in the risk of developing the disease.

But determining how long it may take for an individual to develop Parkinson’s after Paraquat exposure will depend on many factors, including the person’s level of exposure and the age at which they started to be exposed to this chemical.

For instance, people who eat food treated with Paraquat can face an increased risk of Parkinson’s. Yet, those with the greatest risk of developing the disease are people who work in the agriculture or food business. The longer the workers are exposed to this chemical, the greater the chance of developing the disease.

Countries Where Paraquat is Banned

Because of the many dangers that have been reported with Paraquat exposure, over 30 countries have banned its use, though the United States is not one of them.

Specifically, this chemical has been banned in:

  • China
  • Brazil
  • The European Union
  • Switzerland

Paraquat Lawsuit Claims

A farm worker sprays crops with herbicide.

One of the first Paraquat lawsuits was filed in 2017 in Illinois against Syngenta, a Swiss-headquartered and Chinese-owned agrochemical company, and Growmark, another company that makes Paraquat products.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit included agricultural laborers and farm owners who worked on farms where Paraquat was used or worked with Paraquat directly and later developed Parkinson’s disease.

In an amended complaint, the plaintiffs have also added Chevron Chemical as a defendant, claiming that the company acted in concert with Growmark and Syngenta.

Eligibility to File a Paraquat Lawsuit

Anyone exposed to Paraquat who later developed Parkinson’s disease can be eligible to file a lawsuit against Paraquat manufacturers.

The best way to determine if you are eligible to pursue this lawsuit is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can investigate your case and determine if you have a viable claim.

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and you:

  • Worked with a company that used Paraquat
  • Used Paraquat
  • Were exposed to Paraquat
  • Lived near a farm were Paraquat is used
  • Worked for a company that was licensed to use Paraquat
  • Were trained and authorized to use Paraquat

You should reach out to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney at the Miley Legal Group as soon as possible, and let the attorneys at the Miley Legal Group take on this complex legal claim for you.

Proving You Were Exposed to Paraquat

Those who work or have worked on farms are more likely to be aware of the chemicals they have been exposed to or have come in contact with.

In comparison, individuals and residents who live near farms may have been exposed to Paraquat but have no idea of their exposure or that there is a link between this exposure and their Parkinson’s disease.

That is why if you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s and you live near a farm, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can investigate your case and determine if there is a link between your disease and the Paraquat exposure.

Should You File a Paraquat Lawsuit?

A farm worker tends to crops in a large greenhouse.

If you believe you have suffered injuries and losses because of Paraquat exposure, it is important to speak with a trusted personal injury attorney to determine your eligibility to file a lawsuit.

Filing a Paraquat claim is not only essential in helping you get compensation for the harm and damages you have sustained because of the exposure, but it can also allow you to pursue the justice you want by holding the companies responsible accountable.

This lawsuit can also help spread awareness to others who were at risk or could be at risk of developing Parkinson’s because of the chemical.

Have There Been Any Paraquat Lawsuit Settlements?

There have not been any settlements or jury verdicts in Paraquat cases yet. These cases are new and, while some have been dismissed, many others are still pending. Paraquat claims and lawsuits are still in the early stages and attorneys are continuing to accept cases.

As new lawsuits continue to be filed, cases may be consolidated into multi-district litigation (MDL) which means that all cases will be tried by one judge in one court.

If a multi-district litigation is created for Paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuits, it could lead to a global settlement in which all plaintiffs will receive an agreed settlement payout from the herbicide’s manufacturers and other liable parties.

Past results are not indicative of future outcomes, but some defective product claims involving large groups of people are consolidated into MDLs or class action lawsuits.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you or a family member have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and you believe it can be linked to Paraquat exposure, you should contact an experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your time to file a lawsuit may be limited since the statue of limitations may apply to your case.

The skilled lawyers at the Miley Legal Group can:

  • Answer any questions you may have and determine the potential legal options you can pursue.
  • Investigate your case and determine if there is a link between your Paraquat exposure and your Parkinson’s disease.
  • Secure evidence needed to prove liability and damages.
  • Take on the parties that are responsible for your harm.
  • Fight for the money damages you deserve.

Remember, you have nothing to lose by reaching out to a personal injury lawyer, as there is no cost for inquiring about your case. You have plenty to gain, including the justice and financial recovery you are entitled to.

Contact the Miley Legal Group today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help get you the compensation you deserve.

Author Bio

Tim Miley is the Founder of Miley Legal Accident Injury Lawyers, a West Virginia personal injury law firm he formed in 2006. With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, brain injuries, wrongful death, and other personal injury matters.

Tim received his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University and is a member of the West Virginia State Bar and the Harrison County Bar Association. He has helped his clients win more than $10 million in personal injury verdicts and settlements and has further served the people of West Virginia by filling legislative roles in the state’s government since 2004.

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