Parkinson’s Patients Who Worked with Herbicides Containing Paraquat may be Entitled to Compensation
Farm workers, herbicide applicators and other individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after direct exposure to the herbicide paraquat may be entitled to settlement benefits and financial compensation for:
- Parkinson’s disease treatments and medical expenses;
- Pain and suffering;
- Past and future lost wages; and
- Other damages caused by Parkinson’s disease from paraquat exposure.
Langdon & Emison is reviewing potential lawsuits on behalf of people nationwide who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after exposure to the toxic herbicide paraquat. Contact our law firm for a free consultation today.
What is Paraquat?
Paraquat dichloride is a toxic chemical used to control weeds, grass and other unwanted vegetation. It is also used as a post-harvest drying agent. Despite being banned in many countries, paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States.
Though paraquat is legal in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies it as a “restricted use” chemical, which means it is highly toxic and can only be bought and used by licensed users. Paraquat is associated with a high potential for misuse and poisonings and can be lethal in low doses.
The use of paraquat has increased during the last 20 years because weeds have become resistant to other glysophate-based herbicides such as Roundup. Paraquat is one of only two herbicides that is still used in the U.S. but has been banned or is in the process of being phased out in China, the European Union and Brazil, three of the largest agricultural producers and users of pesticides in the world (Environmental Health, 2019).
Paraquat herbicides are manufactured and sold under several different brand or product names. One of the most common trade names for paraquat is Gramoxone, which is manufactured by the Swiss agrochemical company Syngenta.
What Risks are Associated with Paraquat Exposure?
Because paraquat is more toxic than other herbicides, the EPA requires applicators to be certified and to complete a training program before they can mix, load or apply paraquat. Even when precautions are taken and recommendations are followed, the chemical’s toxicity can still cause exposure to occur through means such as:
- Skin absorption
- Penetration through cuts and abrasions
What is Known About the Link Between Paraquat Use and Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and disabling neurodegenerative brain disorder. Symptoms typically develop and progress over years and impact the motor system. Common symptoms include:
- Tremors in the arms and legs
- Impaired coordination and balance
- Slow or impaired movement
- Muscle stiffness
Scientists believe that genetics cause about 10 to 15 percent of Parkinson’s disease cases; however, during the past 20 years, a growing number of scientific studies have linked pesticide exposure to increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
- In 2009, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that exposure to paraquat within 1,600 feet of a home resulted in an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease by 75 percent.
- In 2011, the results of a more comprehensive study were published in Environmental Health Perspectives, in association with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The study found that Parkinson’s was positively associated with paraquat and another pesticide found to block mitochondrial complex and cause oxidative stress, which damages cells and is associated with Parkinson’s.
- A 2014 study published in the Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology found a greater risk of Parkinson’s disease in individuals who had exposure to paraquat. According to the study, pesticide applicators who had applied paraquat suffered twice the risk of Parkinson’s disease than the general population.
In 2016, the EPA announced it would re-evaluate paraquat and its potential link to Parkinson’s disease.
Why are Paraquat Lawsuits Being Filed Across the U.S.?
Though manufacturers may have known about the link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, they did not adequately disclose these risks to the public. Thus, the companies that manufacture and sell paraquat have sold a dangerous product without providing proper warnings, putting profits over human safety. If you used or had direct exposure to paraquat and developed Parkinson’s, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Lawsuits are being filed nationwide on behalf of farmers and agricultural workers who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after use of or exposure to paraquat. It is anticipated that the number of lawsuits could lead to the creation of a class action or multidistrict litigation (multiple lawsuits consolidated into one court) that could eventually lead to a global settlement in which all plaintiffs would receive an agreed-up amount of compensation.
In 2017, the first lawsuit was filed alleging paraquat use and exposure caused farm owners and agricultural laborers to later develop Parkinson’s disease. Since that time, several similar lawsuits have been filed across the country.
How do I Know if I Have a Paraquat Case?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and have used or had direct exposure to paraquat, contact Langdon & Emison today for a free consultation. Our attorneys will review your case at no cost to you to determine if you qualify for a paraquat lawsuit. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you have no out-of-pocket expenses to have your case evaluated, and we do not get paid unless we secure compensation for you.
Langdon & Emison is accepting paraquat cases nationwide. Protect your family and contact us today to find out if you could be eligible for compensation.