Paraquat Herbicide Exposure & Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuit
Posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022 at 10:34 pm
Paraquat (Grameoxone) is an herbicide primarily used on commercial farms. In October 2017, plaintiffs filed a Paraquat lawsuit against the manufacturers claiming that they developed Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to the herbicide. The two manufacturers, Syngenta and Growmark, as well as Chevron Chemical, are listed as defendants in what is now dozens of lawsuits.
With hundreds of Paraquat lawsuits already in multidistrict litigation (MDL), there is little doubt that more plaintiffs will come forward. At Legal Conversion Center, our legal intake specialists can help your law firm prepare to represent clients in Paraquat lawsuits.
Contact us to find out how we can help you with your legal intake needs.
Why Plaintiffs are Filing Paraquat Lawsuits
Since the original lawsuit filed in 2017, dozens more plaintiffs have come forward to tell their stories. There are approximately 736 lawsuits in multidistrict litigation (MDL). The cases are currently in pretrial proceedings in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
Paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuits claim that plaintiffs exposed to Paraquat have developed serious health complications, including Parkinson’s disease. When Paraquat comes in contact with the mouth, stomach, or intestines, it can cause direct damage. As the chemicals move through the body, they damage and destroy healthy cells.
There is considerable research linking Paraquat exposure to Parkinson’s disease. In 2017, the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling for the ban of the herbicide. Research published in various journals also points to the link between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, including research in the National Institute of Environmental Health Services, The American Journal of Epidemiology, and JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Neurology.
How Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s Disease?
When Paraquat enters bodily cells, oxidative stress begins to destroy healthy cells. Remaining cells then are altered, which causes further damage and death. Parkinson’s disease develops when there is a functional loss of dopamine neuron cells in the brain. These cells are particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress and are, therefore, more likely to be affected by exposure to Paraquat.
Individuals who have genetic precursors or other risk factors for Parkinson’s disease are even more at risk of developing the disease after exposure.
If an individual is exposed to Paraquat and survives initial ingestion, they may experience a variety of symptoms and medical conditions, including:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Pulmonary edema
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
- Heart failure
- Nerve damage
- Respiratory failure
Individuals at risk for Paraquat injuries like Parkinson’s disease are those in regular contact with the herbicide. This is mostly agricultural workers on commercial farms, as well as those exposed during manufacturing.
The History of Paraquat
Paraquat is a commercial herbicide that is used to kill grass and weeds. The toxic chemical compound is dangerous to humans. In fact, the EPA categorizes Paraquat as “restricted use”. That means it should only be used by individuals holding a license, such as those in the commercial agricultural industry.
Paraquat was developed in 1961 for the purposes of commercial use. By the 1970’s, the herbicide was already at the center of public health concern. In the 1980’s, Paraquat was used on marijuana fields in Mexico to kill the crops. The United States provided helicopters and funding for the massive spraying. Marijuana harvested in these fields was then transported into the U.S., where it was sold and subsequently consumed by humans.
Though it is harmful to humans, Paraquat has caused injuries to numerous individuals who were exposed by a variety of means, including ingestion and inhalation. In 2020, the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) pushed for legislation to ban herbicides and pesticides like Paraquat that are known to cause illness and injury. The bill, “Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2020”, or PACTA, is the first comprehensive pesticide use law proposed in decades.
Experts estimate that banning Paraquat and similar toxic substances could reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Experts estimate that exposure to the chemicals in Paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 320%.
Dozens of countries have banned Paraquat use, with research showing ingesting even a sip of the chemical could be fatal. Unfortunately, in the U.S., Paraquat has not been banned, and in fact, continues to be widely used. Some reports even suggest its use is on the rise.
Products Containing Paraquat
There are numerous products, brand names, and manufacturers associated with Paraquat. Below is a list of those you may be familiar with, or may hear in relation to the lawsuits.
- Para-Shot 3.0
- Helmquat 3SL
- Cyclone SL 2.0
- Ortho Paraquat CL
- AH 501
- Bai Cao Ku
Contact Legal Conversion Center for Your Intake Needs
Is your law firm ready to start working with Paraquat lawsuit clients? Let Legal Conversion Center help. Our Legal intake service offers cutting-edge technology that can boost your conversion rates. Our highly-trained intake specialists know the process of legal intake from start to finish. Let us help you with your intake needs so you can focus on helping your clients get result.