A diagnosis like Parkinson’s disease changes everything. Even if your symptoms are mild at first, the disease will affect your movements as it progresses and could eventually rob you of your independence.
If you were exposed to an herbicide, or weed killer, called paraquat, developing Parkinson’s disease may not have been as random as it first seemed. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated a link between Parkinson’s disease and exposure to paraquat herbicide products.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease have a right to know whether paraquat exposure is the cause of their illness. Further, they and their families may have a right to compensation from the makers of this toxic chemical in the form of a paraquat herbicide lawsuit.
There’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are treatments that can help reduce your symptoms. You can live a full life with Parkinson’s disease—you just need to be able to afford the best care available. That’s what makes a paraquat herbicide lawsuit, for those who qualify, so important.
A paraquat lawsuit lawyer can help you get every dollar of compensation you deserve from the makers of this dangerous weed killer without any risk, hassle, or upfront cost to your family. Call 866-778-5500 today for a free, confidential consultation.
The paraquat lawsuits currently underway pertain to the herbicide’s connection to Parkinson’s disease. The most important criteria needed to determine if you have the grounds for a paraquat lawsuit is a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
If you suspect that you have Parkinson’s disease but haven’t yet received a definite diagnosis, it’s crucial that you see a doctor promptly, for two reasons:
Medications can be used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and can, as the National Library of Medicine put it, “help symptoms dramatically.” Early intervention with less potent medications can reduce symptoms and potentially delay the need for heavier drugs and offer the best hope for slowing the progression of the disease, The American Journal of Managed Care reported.
Non-pharmaceutical interventions, like exercise and physical therapy, can help to slow the decline in Parkinson’s patients’ quality of life, according to Parkinson’s Foundation. Earlier implementation of these non-pharmaceutical interventions is also beneficial.
The second part of having a paraquat herbicide lawsuit is having been exposed to the herbicide paraquat. Exposure to paraquat typically occurs either through occupational use or through proximity to treated farmland.
The lawsuits filed against paraquat manufacturers so far (as of April 2021) have focused on Parkinson’s disease plaintiffs who were exposed to the herbicide at work.
Under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s classification of paraquat as a “Restricted Use Pesticide,” only specially trained and licensed applicators are permitted to use paraquat. You must be properly trained and licensed to load and mix the herbicide, as well as to apply it to weeds.
Most people exposed to paraquat at work are employed in roles such as:
Not all farms, greenhouses, and resorts use the toxic herbicide paraquat. The chemical is used most widely in the production of crops like cotton, wheat, corn, grapes, and soybeans, American Scientist reported.
However, as weeds have developed resistance to more widely used—and less restricted—herbicides like Roundup (glyphosate), the popularity of paraquat has increased in the United States. Nationwide, the amount of paraquat used in America doubled over the course of the decade ending in 2016 and has continued to rise, according to the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project.
A big part of training to apply paraquat herbicide is learning how to do so safely. That means using personal protection gear to prevent irritation and exposure due to dermal (skin) contact, eye contact, or inhalation of paraquat herbicide.
Wearing gear that includes waterproof gloves, a chemical-resistant apron, and a face shield is essential when working around paraquat. But even trained and licensed applicators can become exposed to this hazardous chemical—even when they do everything right. Gear and clothing can develop rips that allow the herbicide to permeate, leading to exposure through inhalation or skin contact.
The first paraquat toxic exposure lawsuits have been filed on behalf of workers. However, there is compelling evidence that you don’t have to be an agricultural worker to be at risk of exposure to paraquat.
An article published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that individuals living within 500 meters of land treated with paraquat and another herbicide, maneb, in California displayed a 75 percent higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Even the National Institutes of Health acknowledged in 2018 that, although the herbicide is not approved for residential use, “residential exposure can occur for those living near farms where paraquat has been applied.”
As paraquat lawsuit claims continue to progress, residential exposure may become a factor in future toxic exposure litigation. That’s what happened with another type of herbicide lawsuit matter involving the weed killer Roundup. While early Roundup claims involved plaintiffs exposed to the herbicide at work, further investigation into the chemical ultimately unearthed data suggesting that even residential use of Roundup could pose health risks.
Even if you are not an agricultural worker, if you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after living near land that you believe may have been treated with this herbicide, speak to a paraquat lawsuit lawyer—for free—to understand the legal process and your rights and options.
When you read a paraquat herbicide label, you’re likely to see warnings of dangers that include the following:
Paraquat herbicide ingestion is so dangerous that even a single sip of the chemical can be deadly, according to The New York Times. Because a small amount of the herbicide is so toxic, even people who sought immediate medical attention for accidental exposure have often succumbed to the damage caused by paraquat poisoning, according to the EPA.
Due to the serious risk of paraquat herbicide poisoning, only licensed applicators may legally use paraquat herbicide in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This constraint exists because the EPA classifies all pesticides containing paraquat on the U.S. market as “Restricted Use Pesticides.”
Exposure to the herbicide via ingestion can result in immediate symptoms like the following, according to the CDC:
Although these paraquat exposure side effects may sound like run-of-the-mill adverse effects, they are extremely serious. Firstly, the gastrointestinal symptoms can lead to complications like dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and dangerously low blood pressure. Even more worrying is that these symptoms may be just the precursors to life-threatening paraquat poisoning symptoms.
In a matter of days, if only a small to medium amount of the herbicide is ingested—or a matter of hours, if a large amount of paraquat is ingested—the following serious outcomes can occur, according to the CDC:
Individuals who survive paraquat poisoning may have permanent damage to vital organs like their lungs, heart, and kidneys.
Minimizing the risk of exposure by wearing gear that includes a chemical-resistant apron and a face shield is necessary, but it may not be enough to prevent all exposures.
Inhalation and skin contact are two other ways you can be exposed to paraquat. You might not develop paraquat poisoning if exposed to the toxic herbicide in this manner, as you would if you had ingested it. If you never got sick during the time you worked as a licensed paraquat applicator, you may have thought you were safe—until you received the devastating diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, possibly years later.
Existing paraquat herbicide labels won’t tell you about a link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. But researchers have been publishing data that suggests that paraquat exposure is associated with Parkinson’s disease for years.
In April 2009, for example, the American Journal of Epidemiology published a study of residential exposure of paraquat and a second herbicide, maneb, in California’s Central Valley. The case-controlled study, which lasted from 1998 to 2007 and used pesticide exposure data estimates dating back to 1974, found that the Parkinson’s disease risk for people living within 500 meters of land treated with both herbicides increased by 75 percent. Further, exposure to either herbicide individually at or below the age of 60 resulted in an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, researchers concluded.
A September 2009 article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Neurology examined the risk of parkinsonism by occupational exposures. Researchers determined that paraquat was one of just three of the compounds tested that was linked to a tripled increase in the risk of developing parkinsonism (including, but not limited to, Parkinson’s disease).
Research data published in 2011 as a result of a collaboration between the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (part of the National Institutes of Health) and the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center linked both paraquat and another herbicide, rotenone, with a 2.5 times greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The data reviewed in this research came from the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) Study, a large-scale study that included more than 80,000 participants consisting of farmers and agricultural workers and their spouses.
“There is considerable evidence that paraquat may cause the onset, or accelerate the development, of Parkinson’s disease,” the Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific wrote that same year.
In July 2017, the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council submitted to the EPA a letter urging the regulatory body to follow the lead of the 32 countries across the globe that had already banned paraquat, citing the growing body of research that demonstrates the paraquat Parkinson’s disease risk.
In October 2017, a class of plaintiffs consisting of farmers and agricultural workers filed the first Paraquat lawsuit in Illinois. Since then, paraquat lawsuits for Parkinson’s disease have both grown in number and spread across geographical areas, according to Bloomberg. Paraquat law firms are still filing cases against the manufacturers and suppliers in 2021.
May 2018 saw the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, announce the protocol for a scoping review of paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease. In this protocol, the National Toxicology Program noted that “controlled experiments in mammals have demonstrated appreciable paraquat accumulation in brain tissue… and neurological tissue damage consistent with the etiology of Parkinson’s disease.”
Despite the accumulating research that points to a link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease and the slew of lawsuits filed over the herbicide, paraquat remains on the U.S. market. The EPA proposed new safety measures for paraquat in October 2020 but has not banned the product as of April 2021. Paraquat is still one of the most widely used herbicides around the world, the CDC reported, despite being banned in more than 30 countries.
The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is often unknown. For many patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, developing the condition may seem random, according to the National Institute on Aging.
A genetic component is one possible cause, and researchers have identified some distinct genes and genetic mutations linked with Parkinson’s disease, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reported. However, according to Mayo Clinic, even the known genetic mutations linked to Parkinson’s disease are uncommon outside of the rare phenomenon in which several members of one family have the condition.
Another factor that can play a part in causing Parkinson’s disease is environmental triggers and exposures, including herbicides and pesticides, Mayo Clinic reported. Research suggests that paraquat is one of those environmental exposures associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Paraquat in the body produces oxidative stress, a reaction that can lead to the death of neuronal cells, according to the Journal of Neurochemistry. This oxidative stress is linked to neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology reported. This oxidative stress can lead to the degeneration of the neurons that produce dopamine in the brain, which “is responsible for the characteristic motor symptoms” of Parkinson’s disease, according to the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.
The combination of paraquat exposure with certain genetics can increase your Parkinson’s risk even more. Researchers reported in 2012 that individuals who both worked with paraquat and were found to have a defective GSTT1 gene had 11 times the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease compared to the general population, according to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
When you learned that exposure to the paraquat in herbicides is linked to Parkinson’s disease, your diagnosis suddenly started to make sense. Developing this progressive brain disease that changes how you move might not have come out of nowhere after all. Instead, it may be the result of exposure to a toxic chemical.
Knowing that paraquat exposure could be the reason you developed Parkinson’s disease won’t change your symptoms or halt the progression of the disorder. It may help you in other ways, though. Some patients with Parkinson’s disease may find comfort in having answers. Even more importantly, if you’re able to prove that paraquat exposure contributed to your disorder, you have someone to hold accountable: paraquat weed killer suppliers like Syngenta, Growmark, and Chevron—the defendants named in the first paraquat lawsuit.
Through a lawsuit based on the link between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease, you can recover financial compensation for all of the losses you have suffered because you developed Parkinson’s disease. These losses are called damages.
Damages in paraquat lawsuit claims may include:
Living with Parkinson’s disease poses a large financial burden—around $26,400 per year, according to the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council. The lost wages you miss out on when you have to stop working add to the financial troubles patients with Parkinson’s disease face. When paraquat exposure is to blame for your condition, the manufacturers of the toxic herbicide should be the ones to bear this burden, not you or your family.
Despite the research linking paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, getting the money you deserve isn’t easy. In a paraquat lawsuit claim, you need to prove your history of paraquat exposure and provide scientific evidence that the herbicide is likely to have caused your progressive movement disorder. To do that, you need a lawyer.
Paraquat law firms have the legal experience and the resources to conduct a thorough investigation, document your exposure to the herbicide, and secure the support of expert witness opinions. When you hire a paraquat attorney, you no longer have to worry about the challenges of proving you were exposed to the herbicide, because your lawyer will handle the investigation and the entire claim for you.
The expert witness testimony required in toxic exposure litigation, including paraquat lawsuits, drives up the costs of pursuing a claim. These are not cheap cases to pursue.
Fortunately, you won’t have to pay the costs of pursuing a claim on your own, out of pocket, just for the chance of getting the money you deserve. Instead, attorneys handle paraquat lawsuits on a no-win, no-fee basis, also called a contingency basis.
To pursue a paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuit, you will pay:
You will only ever pay in attorneys’ fees a percentage of what your paraquat lawsuit lawyer gets for you, which means there’s no risk of moving forward with a claim. If your case isn’t successful, you won’t even have to pay back the costs the law firm incurred in the course of handling your claim.
You need an attorney to handle a paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuit—but not just any attorney will do. You must put your claim in the hands of a law firm with plenty of experience handling toxic exposure cases and other instances of dangerous products.
As paraquat lawsuit claims continue to emerge, our firm is working with a network of lawyers who have experience and a proven record of success handling toxic exposure matters and other mass tort claims.
Getting your paraquat lawsuit started is easier than you might think. Call our office at 866-778-5500 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our law firm is now investigating paraquat lawsuit cases at no charge and will help you determine your eligibility for a claim and your next steps for holding paraquat manufacturers accountable.