What is Paraquat?
Paraquat dichloride (paraquat) is an organic chemical compound used as an herbicide since 1961. It is also known as Methyl Viologen or N, N′-dimethyl-4,4′-bipyridinium dichloride (systematic name).
Originally produced well over one century ago, it reached its peak popularity as a liquid defoliant only much later, in the 1960s, to control weeds and prepare crops to harvest.
Today, it is commercially available in several strengths and is one of the most used pesticides in the US in more than one hundred different types of crops. In particular, it is appreciated as an alternative to RoundUp to kill glyphosate-resistant weeds.
Is Paraquat toxic?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Paraquat is a highly toxic substance that can lead to severe poisoning in case of exposure.
The most dangerous routes leading to Paraquat poisoning include ingestion, inhalation (causing lung damage), and skin exposure, especially if the skin is not intact or the contact is long enough.
To minimize the risks of Paraquat exposure, the herbicide is now mixed with blue dye to avoid confusing it with other foods or beverages, and is added with other agents to make its odor more pungent.
The lethal dose for an adult is approximately 2.5 grams, or less if inhaled. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explained, just a single sip can kill a human. The effects of acute Paraquat toxicity include:
• Nausea, vomiting, and other serious gastrointestinal symptoms
• Reduced blood pressure
• Electrolyte abnormalities
• Pulmonary edema and lung scarring
• Liver failure
• Kidney failure
• Tachycardia and heart failure
• Seizures and coma
For these reasons, Paraquat is banned in the European Union and 32 countries have recalled it from the market over the course of the last 30 years.
Although in the United States it is still commercially available, its use is restricted only to professionally licensed applicators such as trained farmers and landscapers.
How does Paraquat cause Parkinson’s disease?
While the toxicity of Paraquat is pretty much undisputed, its link with Parkinson’s disease is still somehow controversial. Some studies found evidence that exposure to the pesticide may lead to neurotoxic effects that could cause Parkinson’s disease with a 600% increased risk.
The herbicide might destroy the cells of the nervous system in a way that closely mimics the genesis of this serious neurological disease.
The subjects affected usually require several years to gradually develop the symptoms such as hand tremors, slowing of movement, speaking difficulties, and muscle stiffness. Since these symptoms are initially so subtle, it may be hard to identify Paraquat as the principal causative agent.
Why are Paraquat toxicity lawsuits being filed in the United States?
The reason why many law firms are now suing the manufacturers of Paraquat-based products such as Gramoxone, is that they allege the companies were very well aware of its risks.
According to a former scientist from Syngenta, the principal manufacturer of Gramoxone, the company refused to evaluate several alternative formulations that were less dangerous to humans. The recent scandal was was published in The Guardian.
In particular, documents dating back to 1968, allegedly show how they insisted on releasing into the market a very toxic formulation that could cause Parkinson’s disease despite its dangers to protect their profits. Plaintiffs and their attorneys now want to hold the manufacturers responsible for all damage caused by filing litigations which could eventually evolve into a Paraquat mass tort.
Why should you file a Paraquat lawsuit in 2021?
Many Paraquat toxic exposure lawsuits have been filed across the United States by plaintiffs who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Seeking justice in a court can be your only opportunity to obtain the financial means required to deal with the costs of disease, pay your medical bills, and face the financial damage due to loss of work.
Successful litigation can also provide you with compensation for other damages such as psychological ones and/or loss of consortium. Let us help you find the justice you deserve – We’re here to assist you in finding appropriate legal counsel and the right attorney for you.