Researchers have long known the adverse effects of certain herbicides on consumers’ health and wellbeing. Paraquat is a toxic herbicide that researchers have begun investigating more thoroughly over the past several years.
Paraquat dichloride is an herbicide used to kill weeds and control grass growth. However, growing evidence suggests that chronic exposure to paraquat increases individuals’ risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Numerous law firms across the country have begun filing mass tort lawsuits against paraquat herbicide manufacturers. If you or a loved one were exposed to paraquat and developed Parkinson’s or other injuries, you may be able to join these mass torts and seek compensation.
This guide will discuss paraquat risks and what you should do if you have experienced ill effects from paraquat exposure.
What Is Paraquat Dichloride?
Paraquat dichloride, commonly known as “paraquat,” is a toxic chemical used in herbicides for weed and grass control. This chemical is available most commonly in liquid form.
Paraquat has been a popular weed killer since the 1960s. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified this chemical for restricted use only, meaning that only trained, certified applicators may use these products.
Paraquat products have no registered applications in residential areas and are explicitly for commercial use. However, residents can still experience inadvertent exposure.
Syngenta and Chevron Chemical Company are two of the most popular paraquat manufacturers. You may also see paraquat under the following brand names:
These products contain paraquat as an active ingredient.
Even though manufacturers know the toxicity of paraquat exposure, this herbicide has become even more popular over time. Farmers throughout the U.S. use over 8 million pounds of the substance each year.
Individuals may experience ill effects after ingesting, inhaling, or touching paraquat. Sometimes, paraquat exposure is immediately apparent when a person accidentally drinks paraquat from an unmarked container.
However, paraquat exposure can also be less clear. For example, residents near commercial farms may inhale paraquat after farmers spray the pesticides on their fields. These residents may be unaware of their paraquat exposure until they develop toxic effects down the line.
Dangers of Paraquat
Paraquat is a highly toxic chemical. Consuming even one small sip of this herbicide can be fatal.
Manufacturers have taken several measures to distinguish paraquat from other substances. For example, some manufacturers add blue dye and a strong odor to the herbicide to prevent accidental consumption. Many also add a vomiting agent to the substance to prevent ingestion if someone accidentally drinks paraquat.
However, paraquat can also produce ill effects when you inhale the substance, get it on your skin, or touch plants that have been sprayed with it. These forms of exposure may produce less immediate reactions.
Thirty-two countries have banned paraquat entirely. However, the EPA allows this herbicide in the U.S. because it has found no risks of concern when used according to the label instructions.
Symptoms of Paraquat Exposure
Ingesting even a tiny amount of paraquat can immediately produce the following symptoms:
- Stomach pain
- Swelling and pain in the mouth
- Low blood pressure
The following symptoms may occur in the hours and days following ingestion of paraquat:
- Heart injury
- Pulmonary edema
- Respiratory failure
- Muscle weakness
- Lung scarring
Aside from swallowing paraquat, simply inhaling the substance can also have adverse effects. This substance collects in the lungs, causing scarring, internal bleeding, and breathing issues. Inhaling paraquat can also lead to a condition called paraquat lung.
Those who survive initial paraquat exposure may have a higher chance of developing kidney failure, heart failure, esophageal strictures, and Parkinson’s disease.
Treatment for paraquat poisoning involves lessening the symptoms associated with the exposure. There is no antidote for paraquat poisoning.
Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease
Studies have shown that paraquat inhalation and exposure may lead to the development of Parkinson’s disease.
For example, a 2009 study from the American Journal of Epidemiology found that participants who lived within 500 meters of a farm that used the paraquat herbicide had a 75% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than a control group.
Then, a 2011 study supported this link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. This study found that farmworkers exposed to paraquat or rotenone, another popular pesticide, developed Parkison’s disease 2.5 times more often than those without exposure.
Allegations Against Paraquat Manufacturers
Manufacturers are obligated to create products that are safe for public health. When they manufacture products that pose risks to the public, they must clearly state these risks on the product labels.
However, consumers across the country allege that paraquat manufacturers failed to adequately warn the public against all of the potential consequences of paraquat exposure, including Parkinson’s disease. Syngenta and Chevron USA are two manufacturers who are currently facing the following legal allegations:
- Negligent design and marketing
- Failure to ensure the safety of paraquat users
- Failure to warn the public of the dangers of paraquat
- Lack of awareness of paraquat’s association with Parkinson’s disease
- Lack of knowledge of paraquat’s toxicity
Paraquat Mass Torts
Law firms are currently participating in ongoing mass torts against paraquat manufacturers.
As of April 19, 2022, there are 982 paraquat lawsuits in an MDL class action. This case is ongoing.
If you believe you or a loved one developed Parkinson’s disease due to paraquat exposure, you may be able to seek compensation through a mass tort or MDL class action. However, you will need to have the following components to support your case:
- Proof of paraquat exposure
- Evidence of the development of Parkinson’s disease
- Proof of the connection between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease
If you’re interested in joining a paraquat exposure mass tort, we can help. Contact our Mass Tort Resource team today at 844-636-7459 or fill out our form below to schedule a consultation. Mass Tort Resource also provides guidance and assistance to law firms involved in mass tort litigation.