An Arizona man is seeking compensation from prominent chemical manufacturers Syngenta and Chevron, alleging that the toxic paraquat exposure he endured as an agricultural worker over the course of nearly ten years caused him to develop Parkinson’s disease. The paraquat lawsuit was filed on December 28, 2021, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, where all paraquat lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country have been consolidated before Chief U.S. District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel. If you or someone you know was exposed to paraquat and has since been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or another serious medical condition, contact Consumer Safety Watch today. You may have grounds to file a paraquat lawsuit against the manufacturer, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries.
Since the 1960s, paraquat dichloride (paraquat) has been manufactured, sold, and used as an active ingredient in weed killers manufactured and sold for use in the United States. Paraquat is commonly used to kill broadleaf weeds and grasses on farms and fields across the U.S. However, due to the risk of accidental paraquat ingestion, which can be fatal, paraquat use in the U.S. has been restricted to certified commercial applicators who have completed an EPA-approved paraquat training program. Despite paraquat’s widespread use over the past several decades, a growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to paraquat may increase the risk of farmers and agricultural workers developing Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting the part of the central nervous system that controls movement. Parkinson’s disease occurs when nerve cells in the brain are damaged, which causes dopamine levels to drop and leads to symptoms like tremors, stiffness, loss of balance, and slow movement.
The trouble with paraquat is that even certified commercial applicators may be at risk for adverse health effects caused by exposure to the weed killer, even when it is used in the manner intended. In fact, one aspect of the growing paraquat litigation centers on the allegation that paraquat manufacturers withheld information about the risk of Parkinson’s disease allegedly caused by spraying, mixing, loading, or otherwise handling paraquat, or even being in close proximity to the herbicide when it is sprayed. In this latest paraquat lawsuit, Thomas Quaka and his wife, Sara Quaka, allege that Thomas developed Parkinson’s disease as a direct result of his repeated exposure to paraquat during his time as an agricultural worker. According to the lawsuit, Thomas was repeatedly exposed to and inhaled, ingested, or absorbed paraquat between 1964 and 1973, while applying the weed killer to 500-acre farm fields in Illinois.
Thomas Quaka’s case joins hundreds of other lawsuits centralized in federal court in Illinois as part of a paraquat multidistrict litigation (MDL). The lawsuits all involve similar allegations that the makers of paraquat-based herbicides failed to protect farmers, agricultural workers, and others from toxic paraquat exposure or warn them about the potential for paraquat exposure to cause serious adverse health effects, even when the weed killer is used as the manufacturers intended. “At no time when using paraquat himself was Plaintiff Thomas Quaka aware that exposure to paraquat could cause any latent injury, including any neurological injury or Parkinson’s disease, or that any precautions were necessary to prevent any latent injury that could be caused by exposure to paraquat,” Quaka’s lawsuit states. Thomas Quaka was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2020.
Syngenta, Chevron, and other paraquat manufacturers face a growing number of claims alleging that it was reasonably foreseeable that people who sprayed, mixed, or loaded paraquat, or even those in or near areas where paraquat was sprayed, would be exposed to the herbicide, including as a result of herbicide drift. Many of these claims allege further that it was reasonably foreseeable that paraquat, after entering the body through respiration, ingestion, or absorption through the skin, could enter the bloodstream and from there enter the brain, causing permanent neurological damage. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and you believe paraquat exposure to be the cause, do not hesitate to contact Consumer Safety Watch to find out how we can help.