A Georgia man and his wife recently filed a paraquat lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. According to the complaint, the husband was exposed to paraquat and now suffers from a brain disorder because of it.
Recent research has shown that the widely used herbicide sold under the brand name paraquat, among others, can potentially cause an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The first paraquat lawsuit was filed in 2017 on behalf of farmers and agricultural workers who subsequently developed Parkinson’s after chronic exposure to Paraquat. To date, an increasing number of Paraquat lawsuits are being filed each day.
Plaintiff Alleges Paraquat Exposure Caused His Parkinson’s
The plaintiff claims that he was exposed to Paraquat from 1964 to 1974, and again between 1978 and 1979 in Illinois where he sprayed the pesticide on farms.
Now, he suffers from Parkinson’s disease (PD), which he alleges is due to his exposure to paraquat.
Paraquat was first produced for commercial purposes in 1961. Due to its toxicity, however, it has been banned in the European Union and 32 other countries around the globe.
Despite several countries recalling paraquat for the past decades, paraquat is still one of the most commonly used herbicides worldwide. For this reason, in the United States, paraquat is only available for use by licensed pesticide applicators.
However, since it was made commercially available in the country in 1964, it has been sprayed on 100 different crops across the U.S., including:
Paraquat is also used for weed control even in non-agricultural settings and for desiccation of crops such as cotton before harvest.
There’s no denying that the widespread use of the herbicide since it was made available 60 years ago persists until today. Unfortunately, the consequences of paraquat exposure on human health and the environment are just some of the prices we have to pay for effective weed control.
The lawsuit adds that manufacturers of paraquat have been aware of the negative effects of paraquat to human health for decades. However, they failed to adequately warn consumers and licensed applicators about the dangers of the herbicide.
Studies Link Paraquat To PD
The exact causes behind the development of Parkinson’s in individuals are still not fully understood. However, researchers currently believe that it’s a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
Recently, however, researchers are focusing more on the environmental factors that play a role in the development of the neurodegenerative disease.
For instance, in 2009, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that any form of Paraquat exposure within 1,600 feet increases an individual’s risk for developing Parkinson’s disease by as much as 75 percent.
Furthermore, in 2011, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives published results from a study of PD and how it may be associated with pesticide exposure.
“A growing body of evidence suggests pesticides may play a role in Parkinson’s disease (PD) in humans,” the study says.
The research further explained that Parkinson’s was linked to lifelong use of pesticides. Animal studies also suggest that the pesticides Paraquat and Rotenone can cause oxidative stress and block mitochondrial complex.
Paraquat works by producing intracellular molecules that damage cells by causing oxidative stress. This same property is what makes paraquat deadly to dopaminergic neurons, which are the same nerve cells damaged in the brains of people with PD.
What You Can Do
Humans can be exposed to paraquat through skin absorption, inhalation, or ingestion. In fact, a 2021 study revealed that even low-level yet prolonged inhalation of paraquat caused animal subjects to lose some of their sense of smell.
The results suggest that the toxic herbicide can enter the brain through the olfactory nerve. Paraquat was also found to accumulate in all examined tissues, with the most amount of the pesticide found in the lungs.
Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), paraquat is highly toxic and can also result in severe poisoning in case of exposure.
Despite this, however, each year, farmers still use over eight million pounds of the herbicide to be sprayed on farms. What’s more shocking is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently granted paraquat an interim re-approval and also allowed aerial applications of the pesticide.
This has resulted in several environmental organizations suing EPA in an attempt to turn the decision around.
If you or a loved one developed Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to paraquat, know that you’re not alone. You don’t have to suffer in silence. You can file a case against the manufacturer of paraquat and you may be eligible for financial compensation.
Contact us today to know more about your legal rights. We’re here to help you in standing up to abusive giant companies that put people’s health at risk for the sake of profit.