The wife of an Illinois farmer who died from Parkinson’s disease earlier this year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Syngenta and Chevron, alleging that her husband’s death was caused by exposure to the herbicide paraquat in the late 70s and 80s. Paraquat has been widely used since the 1960s to kill broadleaf weeds and grasses on farms, in orchards, and in other agricultural settings across the United States, but lawsuits say that exposure to paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease, a devastating neurodegenerative disorder of the brain that affects the part of the central nervous system responsible for controlling movement. If you developed Parkinson’s disease or lost a loved one as a result of Paraquat exposure, contact Consumer Safety Watch today. The paraquat Parkinson’s disease litigation in the U.S. continues to grow, and you and your family may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses.
Paraquat dichloride, commonly known as paraquat, first became available for commercial use in the United States in 1964, and it quickly became one of the most commonly used herbicides, both nationwide and around the world. Because the herbicide is highly toxic, paraquat products registered for use in the U.S. are Restricted Use Pesticides that are only available for use by trained certified applicators. Recently, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of paraquat, amid strong evidence of a significant Parkinson’s disease risk among commercial applicators exposed to paraquat during mixing, loading, or spraying. Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system caused by nerve cell damage in the brain that leads to a drop in dopamine levels. The most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are a resting tremor, rigidity, impaired balance, and slowness in voluntary movement and reflexes.
Growing concerns about the alleged link between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease has led to more than 1,000 paraquat injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country, each involving claims that exposure to paraquat puts applicators and those in or near areas where paraquat is sprayed at risk for Parkinson’s disease, even when the herbicide is used as manufacturers intended. The paraquat lawsuits also allege that paraquat manufacturers knew or should have known that this kind of exposure could allow paraquat to enter the human body via absorption through the skin, respiration into the lungs, or ingestion into the digestive tract, and from there enter the brain and cause Parkinson’s disease.
Paraquat is designed to kill plants by creating oxidative stress, an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants that ultimately leads to the degeneration and death of plant cells. A growing number of lawsuits allege that this same mechanism of action can lead to the degeneration and death of animal cells from paraquat exposure, which means paraquat can injure and kill humans and other animals, not just plants. In this latest paraquat lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on April 14, 2022, plaintiff Janet Puzey alleges that, as a direct and proximate result of paraquat exposure, her late husband, Ralph Puzey, “developed PD, suffered severe and permanent physical pain, mental anguish, disability, loss of normal life, loss of income that he otherwise would have earned, incurred reasonable expenses for necessary medical treatment, and untimely death.”
For decades, paraquat has been aggressively marketed to farmers, distributors, dealers, and commercial applicators across the country, despite the herbicide’s known toxicity. Janet Puzey states in her paraquat lawsuit that her husband was repeatedly exposed to and inhaled, absorbed, or ingested paraquat while working on his farm in Illinois between approximately 1977 and 1990. Ralph Puzey was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in August 2011 and died on January 10, 2022. Sadly, Ralph Puzey is just one of many farmers who were exposed to paraquat for decades as commercial applicators, with no warnings from manufacturers about the potential health risks of paraquat exposure, and subsequently developed Parkinson’s disease and/or died. To find out if you or your loved one qualifies for a paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuit, contact Consumer Safety Watch today.