Personal Injury

Paraquat herbicide linked to Parkinson's disease

Farmer spraying a field with weed killer

A weed-killer that's widely used around the world has been connected to Parkinson's disease, a neurological disorder that affects approximately 1 million Americans.

Recent studies have found that exposure to the toxic chemical paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson's and other serious medical conditions.

Also known by the brand name Gramoxone, paraquat is so poisonous that even just one sip can be fatal.

Tragically, research has shown that prolonged and low-level exposure to paraquat can result in Parkinson's disease, leaving many wondering what to do if they've been exposed to the chemical that's been banned or restricted in over 30 countries due to safety concerns.

What is paraquat?

An extremely poisonous chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency has classified as a "restricted use product," paraquat is a toxic herbicide that was first introduced in 1961 as a way to control grass and kill weeds.

Originally made in Switzerland, paraquat is now banned from being used in that country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ingesting even just a small amount of paraquat may cause adverse health effects, such as:

  • Heart Failure
  • Kidney Failure
  • Liver Failure
  • Lung Scarring

Ingesting large amounts of paraquat is typically fatal, with symptoms including:

  • Confusion
  • Acute Kidney Failure
  • Coma
  • Fast heart rate
  • Heart damage
  • Liver failure
  • Lung scarring
  • Weak muscles
  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Seizures
  • Breathing failure

Who can file a lawsuit?

Paraquat is used in agriculture and manufacturing. As such, any agricultural workers, farmers, licensed applicators, or people who live near farming communities may have been exposed to the herbicide and could be at risk of developing early-onset Parkinson's if they aren't suffering from the disease already.

Lawsuits have already been filed against paraquat manufacturer Syngenta Group, alleging the herbicide maker ignored and played down the risk of developing Parkinson's due to paraquat exposure.

What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is a chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disorder that has no cure. People with Parkinson's, which is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, may experience a range of symptoms that develop gradually over time. Symptoms include:

  • Tremors in the arms and legs
  • Shaking
  • Bradykinesia (slow movements)
  • Limb rigidity
  • Difficulty with coordination and balance

Neurologist: Future looks bleak for Parkinson's

Dutch neurologist Bastiaan Bloem, who is also a university professor, has a grim outlook for the future when it comes to Parkinson's disease.

According to Parkinson's News Today, Bloem predicts the number of people with Parkinson's disease may double over the course of the next two decades. His reason? Toxic exposure to harmful chemicals like paraquat.

“These chemicals were introduced worldwide after World War II, and many are still used today on our fields,” Bloem says. “For this reason, farmers are at a markedly increased risk of developing Parkinson’s. If you feed a mouse paraquat — which is banned in China but not the U.S. — it will kill the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. These chemicals are tremendously toxic to the brain and have even been detected in milk, in supermarkets.”

A 2011 National Institutes of Health study is just one of several scientific studies that have connected Parkinson's disease to paraquat.

As stated by the NIH: "Paraquat increases (the) production of certain oxygen derivatives that may harm cellular structures. People who used these pesticides or others with a similar mechanism of action were more likely to develop Parkinson's disease."

We can help you pursue a Paraquat lawsuit

Every company has a legal responsibility to ensure its products are safe, but sometimes that doesn't happen and other people suffer the consequences.

To make matters worse, anyone who tries to recover appropriate compensation for their damages will likely be confronted with a team of lawyers that will do everything in their power to protect the company's bottom line, even if it comes at the expense of the victim.

At Tracey Fox King & Walters, our highly skilled personal injury attorneys consistently rise to the challenge whenever a client comes to us with a complex legal matter, including cases that involve defective or inherently dangerous products.

Make no mistake, there is no case too complicated and no company too big for us to handle.

Whether it's through a negotiated settlement or by way of a successful court judgment, our dedicated legal team will help you seek justice and fight for the compensation you deserve.

If you or someone you love developed Parkinson's disease after being exposed to paraquat, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit.

To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us today for a free case evaluation. We have three Texas locations in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio and would be honored to speak with you about your potential legal case.

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