What is Paraquat?
Paraquat dichloride (paraquat) is a chemical agent most commonly used as an herbicide. Although it was first produced more than 130 years ago, its application as an herbicide did not become popularized until the mid-20th century. Paraquat is now used as an herbicide agent on a range of more than 100 different types of crops.
Increased Paraquat Use in the United States
But in the U.S., in recent years, Paraquat has become a popular alternative to Monsanto’s Roundup. Roundup has long been the preferred herbicidal agent for American agricultural workers, but as weeds and pests are becoming more resistant to it and lawsuits alleging dangers and injuries arise, farmers are turning to alternative herbicides and pesticides to treat their crops.
Paraquat has become the preferred herbicidal alternative, in light of the issues surrounding Roundup, especially for soybean fields, where the number of pounds used is up fourfold over the last 10 years. In 2016 alone, the United States sprayed 7 million lbs. of Paraquat over nearly 15 million acres of land.
However, it is important to note that all Paraquat products are Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), meaning only licensed applicators are able to purchase and use the herbicide. All applicators must be “licensed in accordance with EPA regulations and state, territorial and tribal laws.”
Is Paraquat Safe?
According to the American Council on Science and Health, Paraquat’s relative toxicity of glyphosate, another popularly used herbicide known to be toxic, ranges from 33-250. A lethal dose for an average person is around 2.5 grams, and it is even more toxic when inhaled. Paraquat’s toxicity has made it a traditionally popular agent for suicide because it can kill a person with a single sip.
Paraquat exposure has also been linked to adverse health effects, including Parkinson’s disease.
Paraquat Linked to Parkinson’s Disease
Research has attributed exposure to paraquat to increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
In February 2011, the National Institute of Health (NIH) conducted a study – the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) – exploring claims that exposure to the popular herbicide Paraquat could be linked to a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Following the study’s release, Syngenta, a Swiss herbicide manufacturer, claimed on its website that data from the study showed that farmers who use Paraquat are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than the general population. This claim was highly debated by the study’s authors, who attested that the data from the study showed that individuals were roughly two and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson’s after being exposed to Paraquat (or a similar herbicide – Rotenone).
Paraquat Lawsuit Filed
There is currently a Paraquat lawsuit filed in St. Clair County, Illinois. The lawsuit, which was filed on Oct. 6, 2017, is filed on behalf of farmers and agricultural workers who were exposed to Paraquat and, as a result, developed Parkinson’s disease. The original defendants named in the Paraquat lawsuit were Syngenta and Growmark.
Plaintiffs in the Paraquat lawsuit claim that Syngenta and Growmark manufactured Paraquat, distributed and sold it as Gramoxone or by other names since 1964.
In an amended complaint, plaintiffs also named Chevron Chemical as a defendant, claiming that Chevron acted in concert with Syngenta and Growmark.
Plaintiffs argue that, before the recent studies linking paraquat to Parkinson’s, they were completely unaware that the chemical posed any long-term health risks.
Can you Participate in the Paraquat Lawsuit?
If you have previously been exposed to Paraquat — or similar herbicide Rotenone — and subsequently developed Parkinson’s disease or signs of ongoing developing Parkinson’s, you may qualify to participate in the Paraquat lawsuit.
Contact the offices of Kitrick, Lewis & Harris today for a free, no-obligation Paraquat lawsuit case consultation. Our experienced chemical exposure law team can help you assess your case and your best plan of action.