The latest in a string of paraquat exposure lawsuits was filed earlier this month in the Eastern District of Louisiana by a man who indicates that exposure to the toxic herbicide caused him to suffer neurological injuries that were eventually diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease. The claim, brought by plaintiff Emile Folse, names as defendants Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, Syngenta AG, Chevron USA, Inc., and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP, and alleges that these companies withheld information about the potential health risks associated with paraquat from consumers for years, putting them at risk for serious and possibly permanent injuries. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or some other major side effect you believe to be linked to paraquat exposure, contact a knowledgeable paraquat injury attorney right away to explore your legal options.
Paraquat is a toxic herbicide widely used by farmers and agricultural workers across the United States for weed and grass control. The chemical, sold under the brand names Gramoxone, Helmquat, Devour, and others, is known to be extremely poisonous, and ingesting even a small amount of the herbicide can result in sudden death. Because of its toxicity, paraquat has been banned in more than 30 countries, and in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies the herbicide as “restricted use,” which means it can only be purchased and used by licensed commercial applicators. Still, paraquat remains one of the most commonly used herbicides worldwide, despite growing evidence suggesting that paraquat exposure can lead to the development of Parkinson’s disease.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), licensed paraquat applicators are the people most at risk for harmful exposure to paraquat, which can occur during mixing, loading, spraying, or other direct contact with the herbicide. Furthermore, while paraquat is not approved for residential applications, people living in rural areas near farms where paraquat is routinely sprayed could also be at risk for paraquat exposure due to herbicide drift, which could lead to the development of Parkinson’s disease. “Hundreds of in vitro studies have found that paraquat causes the degeneration and death of dopaminergic neurons,” this latest paraquat lawsuit states. “Many epidemiological studies have found an association between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease, including multiple studies finding a two- to five-fold or greater increase in the risk of Parkinson’s disease in populations with occupational exposure to paraquat compared to populations without such exposure.”
In light of these disturbing findings, a growing number of paraquat lawsuits now allege that the manufacturers of the herbicide knew about the potential risk of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological injuries associated with direct exposure to paraquat, as well as herbicide drift, and concealed this risk from the public. In this latest paraquat lawsuit, plaintiff Emile Folse indicates that he regularly and frequently used paraquat products for years, from the 1980s until about 1998. As a result of this exposure, Folse alleges that he “suffered and continues to suffer from permanent neurological injuries consistent with Parkinson’s disease caused by his exposure to Paraquat Products at various places within the State of Louisiana generally, and Parishes within the Eastern District of Louisiana, including Lafourche.”
After experiencing symptoms consistent with Parkinson’s disease for several years, Folse was ultimately diagnosed with the degenerative neurological disorder in 2020. Sadly, many former paraquat users are finding themselves in similar situations after years of being exposed to the herbicide at work or in other ways. And with no prior knowledge that paraquat exposure could be the cause of their problems, since the makers of paraquat products allegedly failed to provide warnings about the possible link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. “At no time when using paraquat himself was Plaintiff aware that exposure to paraquat could cause any latent injury, including any neurological injury or Parkinson’s disease,” Folse’s lawsuit states, “or that any precautions were necessary to prevent any latent injury that could be caused by exposure to paraquat.”