Herbicide Paraquat is Linked to Parkinson’s Disease in Users, Sparking Lawsuits
Agricultural workers and gardeners have used herbicides for years to counter threats to plants. However, many of these chemicals have harmful side effects. The link between Roundup and cancer became apparent in recent years. The weed killer paraquat has been linked to Parkinson’s disease and a flood of new lawsuits against manufacturers.
Paraquat is a toxic chemical used by farmers as a herbicide. Landowners usually use paraquat on grass and weeds. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, paraquat has been on the market since 1961 and is one of the most widely used herbicides.
Paraquat is only used by commercially licensed users in the United States, due to its toxicity. Poisoning is possible if it is mixed with food and drink or via prolonged skin exposure, according to the CDC. It may cause lung damage if inhaled.
What Dangers Does Paraquat Present?
The link between paraquat and Parkinson’s has been established since 2011 when a National Institutes of Health study found the use of two pesticides appears to increase the risk of users developing Parkinson’s. People who used either paraquat or rotenone developed Parkinson’s disease about 2.5 times more often than non-users.
The authors studied 110 people with Parkinson’s disease and 358 matched controls from the Farming and Movement Evaluation. Since 2011, studies in publications including the American Journal of Epidemiology and the National Institute of Environmental Health highlighted a link between the herbicide and Parkinson’s disease.
As personal injury lawyers who represent people injured by dangerous chemicals and drugs in mass tort cases, we are concerned about this finding. Parkinson’s disease is a serious and progressive condition with no known cure. It starts with a barely noticeable tremor in one hand but the symptoms worsen over time. Sufferers may lose the ability to walk, move, or speak in a normal manner. The Parkinson’s Foundation points out the disease can also affect cognitive impairment and cause depression, sleep disorders, and constipation.
Paraquat is so poisonous it has been banned in some countries. However, its use is on the rise in the United States, the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project found.
Groups such as the Parkinson’s Advocacy Council have urged the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of paraquat in the USA. However, the herbicide is still available for use.
Legal Options After Suffering Parkinson’s as a Result of Paraquat Usage
Agricultural workers who believe they contracted Parkinson’s disease from the use of paraquat have filed lawsuits since 2017 against the manufacturer Syngenta. Most of the lawsuits claim the herbicide caused Parkinson’s in users. Some workers claim they suffered other symptoms such as kidney disease.
The lawsuits claim Syngenta failed to warn users of the link between their product and Parkinson’s and the product is defective in design. Earlier this year, James Hemker filed a lawsuit against Syngenta and Chevron. The lawsuit claimed Hemker helped his father and brother farm soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, and corn from the 1960s and the worker was exposed to paraquat. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2008.
Hemker said the manufacturer did not warn protective equipment may have reduced his risk of developing Parkinson’s. The upsurge in lawsuits over paraquat comes at a time when many gardeners and landscape workers are suing the manufacturer of the popular pesticide Roundup, claiming it caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Bayer/Monsanto faces thousands of lawsuits brought by cancer sufferers and has already been ordered to make multi-million dollar payouts to victims by the courts. People who work on the land or in their gardens have relied on popular herbicides for decades. Now many people are paying a terrible price. It’s not too late to join a mass tort action against the manufacturers. Please contact our Virginia Beach product liability lawyers as soon as possible.