Paraquat Lawsuits in the US

Plaintiffs across the US are filing paraquat lawsuits, claiming the herbicide can lead to Parkinson’s disease. They’re also suing the manufacturers of these products for failing to warn about their potential health dangers.

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Paraquat: What Is It and Why It's Used?

Paraquat (Paraquat dichloride) is a herbicide that farmers have used for weed control in commercial plants in America since the 1960s. Although its production dates back over a century, the chemical gained popularity in the 20th century. 

Paraquat is famous for its efficiency as a non-selective herbicide and can be applied on over 100 weeds and grasses. 

During the 1970s, Mexican farmers used paraquat as a plant killer for poppy crops and marijuana. 

Paraquat is a significant ingredient in several herbicide products, including Firestorm, Helmquat, and Gramoxone, all manufactured by Swiss-based Syngenta.  

However, the chemical has grown less popular in recent years because of the associated health threats. The European Union (EU) and 30 other nations have prohibited using paraquat as a herbicide. 

The Chinese government also began proceedings to phase out the chemical in 2012. It eventually banned the product in 2016. However, manufacturers can still produce it for exports.

Paraquat Use in the US

The US government is yet to prohibit paraquat use. Paraquat initially grew popular in the United States as an alternative to other herbicides, such as Monsanto’s Roundup. 

Roundup had been the top herbicide choice among Americans. However, the brand has faced several lawsuits for injuries and health concerns in recent years while weeds have also grown resistant to the chemical. As such, farmers have opted for alternatives, such as Syngenta’s Paraquat herbicides. 

In 2016, American agricultural workers used seven million lbs of paraquat across land spreading over 15 million acres. In the last decade, the number of Paraquat pounds sprayed on soybean fields has increased four-fold. 

The recent health concerns, though, have forced the US government to take steps to protect agricultural workers from the Paraquat dangers. 

The EPA designated paraquat as a Restricted Use Product (RUP) in 2016, mandating that only certified and trained applicators can use the herbicide in agricultural and commercial settings.

This designation is a step to safeguard the public from the health threats of Paraquat and reduce its environmental effects. 

If a farmer hasn’t received the mandatory safe handling training and certification, they must be under the supervision of an experienced Paraquat user while they apply the product. 

Since the EPA restricts paraquat use, farmers cannot purchase paraquat-based herbicides on store shelves like most pesticides.

Paraquat Efficiency and Appeal

One reason Paraquat is so popular among American farmers is that it is effective at controlling commercial crop weeds. 

The chemical is also cheaper than other pesticides.

Farmers can use Paraquat to kill weeds on over 100 plants grown for consumption, including orchard fruits, coffee beans, and oranges. Furthermore, the chemical is famous for being effective on weeds that resist other plant killers. 

Paraquat Bans Worldwide

Paraquat use is illegal across 32 countries worldwide. Interestingly, while Paraquat is manufactured by a Swiss-based company, the Swiss government has outlawed the chemical since 1989. England and the European Union banned the herbicide in 2013. 

That said, one of Syngenta’s largest production plants is in Northern England. However, most products from the facilities are exported to the US. China, a nation famous for its relaxed economic laws, also outlawed Paraquat in 2016. Paraquat production in China is now majorly for exportation. 

Following the research linking Paraquat to Parkinson’s disease, several other nations are also outlawing the herbicide.

How Does Exposure to Paraquat Occur

According to the CDC, paraquat exposure can occur in the following ways: 

  • Swallowing, inhalation, and ingestion
  • Throughout cuts or skin sores 
  • Food and beverage contamination
  • Long-term skin exposure to highly-concentrated paraquat products 

Also, individuals who spray Paraquat to plants directly have significantly more risk of exposure and eventual health concerns. Furthermore, people living in rural communities where farmers use Paraquat heavily are at higher risk of experiencing the side effects related to Paraquat toxicity.

Paraquat and Parkinson's Disease

A crucial part of Paraquat’s effectiveness is its ability to prevent plant electron transfer. Electron transfer aids plants’ functions, such as photosynthesis. However, restricting these functions eventually kills the plants. 

That said, several medical experts have concerns that paraquat may affect humans and animals in the same way. 

According to Brian Clegg, electron transfer is also crucial for human respiration and other bodily processes. 

Paraquat exposure may hinder these actions in animals and humans, resulting in severe health conditions. 

Recent research has found links between Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease. In 2011, an NIH Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) study revealed that people who have experienced Paraquat exposure have higher percentages of suffering from Parkinson’s disease than individuals who haven’t had contact.

Another 2012 study by the Parkinson’s Institute discovered that individuals with a specific gene variation are at an eleven-fold risk of Parkinson’s disease due to Paraquat exposure. 

In 2018, research from a Canadian university also revealed cells that experienced a small exposure to Paraquat show the same disruption typical of variations in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. 

The New York Times, after cross-checking several studies connecting paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, discovered that not only has research increased in the last few years, but a significant number of medical experts have expressed concerns about the links. 

According to Dr. Samuel Goldman from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs health system, the data linking paraquat and Parkinson’s disease is overwhelming. 

The Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) Study

The NIH based its FAME study on information from the Agricultural Health Study. 

This Agricultural Health Study monitored over 80,000 farmers and agricultural workers. The NIH located 115 of these people and studied 110 of them with Parkinson’s disease. 

These individuals provided the institute with the weed killers they used on their crops. After releasing the FAME study, Swiss-based Syngenta countered the study by claiming that individuals who used Paraquat have fewer chances of developing Parkinson’s disease than other members of the public. 

The company also claimed that, since only 115 people out of 80,000 individuals from the Agricultural Health Study suffered from Parkinson’s disease, there was no direct link between Paraquat use and the health condition. 

Dr. Caroline M. Tanner, FAME’s lead author, countered Syngenta’s argument, stating that FAME didn’t intend to do a detailed analysis of all incidents of Parkinson’s disease among the 80,000 people from the Agricultural Health Study. 

Instead, the research focused on a specific section of people and studied them against the control group. 

According to Dr. Freya Kamel, one of the co-authors of the study from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the FAME study didn’t include several people from the Agricultural Health Study group who suffered from Parkinson’s in its research. 

However, the data connecting Parkinson’s disease and paraquat are pretty persuasive.

Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that results from deteriorating or dying dopamine-producing neurons. 

Patients often fail to detect the condition in its early stages. However, over time, it affects the whole body, showing several severe symptoms. 

Some bodily signs of Parkinson’s disease include: 

  • Limb tremors 
  • Speech impairment (slurring and hesitation) 
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Balance impairment 
  • Bradykinesia
  • Anxiety 
  • Sexual dysfunctions
  • Depression 
  • Vision impairment 
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Sleeping difficulties 

Parkinson’s disease is an illness that is debilitating and progressive. Patients can cope during the early phases of the sickness through treatment.

However, their condition will worsen over time. 

They may end up bedridden or in a wheelchair while needing a caregiver’s assistance during the last stage of the disease.

Who Qualifies for a Paraquat Lawsuit?

  1. Paraquat lawsuits continue to grow across America. People who have Parkinson’s disease as a result of Paraquat exposure can file a Paraquat lawsuit against Syngenta. 

    That said, some cases may be more challenging to prove than others. 

    Thus, contacting a lawyer is the best way to determine if you qualify to sue for compensation. 

    Generally, people who can file a claim against Syngenta include: 

    • Folks who live near areas where Paraquat use is high 
    • Individuals who work with or around commercial herbicides 
    • Agricultural workers, such as farmers, growers, landscapers, pickers, and certified paraquat applicators

Why You Should File a Paraquat Lawsuit

Paraquat lawsuits are a crucial step to getting justice if you’ve suffered injuries from paraquat use or exposure. 

With an expert attorney on your side, you stand a higher chance of getting compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced. 

Here are a few reasons why you should consider filing a claim against Paraquat manufacturers:

Hold the Company Accountable

Manufacturers often try to avoid the consequences of their actions in product liability lawsuits. Most product manufacturers fail to warn consumers about the risks of their products and continue to market them as safe despite the threats they pose to users. 

In the case of Paraquat, Syngenta has countered evidence linking Paraquat to Parkinson’s disease, claiming that there’s not enough correlation between the two. 

The entity also continues to sell the product, despite the overwhelming evidence of its dangers. 

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, and victims must live with the illness all their lives. Filing a paraquat lawsuit is a significant step in holding Paraquat manufacturers accountable for negligence. 

In many cases similar to this one, the manufacturing firm may have to pay punitive damages as punishment for the threats their products posed to consumers’ lives. 

Pain and Suffering Compensation

Since Parkinson’s disease has no cure, victims will not only live with the condition all their lives but also suffer the burden of treatment costs. 

However, a Paraquat lawsuit may assist plaintiffs get compensation and recover medical expenses and lost wages for the period they were ill and unable to work. They may also get settlements for emotional pain and suffering. 

Increase Awareness About Paraquat’s Dangers 

Paraquat is a famous herbicide in the US, and millions still use the chemical, unaware of its negative health effects. 

Some folks live near areas where Paraquat use is high and are unaware of the threats they face. 

A Paraquat lawsuit lends your voice to the hundreds warning others about the health threat Paraquat poses and can protect more lives from Parkinson’s disease. 

Possible Compensation for Paraquat Victims

Product manufacturers have a responsibility to create products that aren’t a threat to the lives and well-being of their customers. 

If a product has potential risks, manufacturers must also warn consumers about these dangers. 

Failing to do so violates US laws. 

If you’ve developed Parkinson’s disease or any other health condition due to paraquat use, you could earn the following compensation through a lawsuit: 

  • Cost of medical expenses
  • Payment for loss of quality of life 
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering 
  • Funeral costs for victims that may have died 
  • Lost wages

Paraquat Claims in the US

Plaintiffs began filing Paraquat lawsuits in the US in 2016. Some of these lawsuits are class actions, while a significant number are individual personal injury cases. Several litigations also allege the onset of Parkinson’s disease due to Paraquat exposure. 

Furthermore, some victims claim they developed kidney infections because of Paraquat use. 

Some of these plaintiffs used Paraquat for years before their diagnosis. 

As the cases continued to grow in the US, lawyers representing the victims requested to consolidate all paraquat lawsuits in multidistrict litigation before one court. 

Below are some paraquat lawsuits filed across the US:

Doug Holliday Vs. Syngenta

In 2021, Iowa-based Doug Holiday filed a paraquat class action against Chevron USA and Syngenta for endangering the lives of their consumers and refusing to caution them about the potential health dangers of their products. 

Doug Holiday has used Paraquat across thousands of acres of farmland since the early 90s. 

Ellis Pratt Vs. Syngenta 

Ellis Pratt sued Syngenta in 2021 over the health risks of the company’s paraquat-based herbicides, claiming that he’d developed a renal condition due to long-term use of the chemical. 

Doctors diagnosed Pratt with kidney disease after direct Paraquat exposure, drinking water contamination, and pesticide drifts for 11 years. 

Robin Adams Vs. Syngenta

Robin Adams filed a paraquat claim against Syngenta, accusing the company of misrepresenting and denying the health dangers of its products. 

According to the Missouri resident, her husband had certification as a Paraquat applicator, and they used the herbicide together on their farmland. 

However, her doctors diagnosed her with Parkinson’s disease after 15 years of direct exposure, contamination of their drinking water, and pesticide drift.

Major Takeaway

With Syngenta refusing to recall their Paraquat despite links to Parkinson’s and Kidney disease, the onus is on you to contact a revered attorney if you’ve experienced any of these life-changing illnesses.

A lawyer will review vital Paraquat lawsuit information to build a strong suit for you and get a compensation that befits your losses.

What’s better? 

Most attorneys operate on a contingency-fee basis — meaning you won’t part with a dime until you’re settled.

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