Just because someone has been professionally trained and certified as a commercial Paraquat applicator does not mean that person is safe from the toxic effects of Paraquat exposure. We know this because of the growing number of Paraquat lawsuits that have been filed by certified commercial Paraquat applicators who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after routinely mixing, applying and/or handling the controversial pesticide and weed killer. If you or someone you know was exposed to Paraquat and subsequently developed Parkinson’s disease, contact Consumer Safety Watch right away to find out about your legal options. You may be eligible for a Paraquat lawsuit, which could help you recover the compensation you deserve for the harm you have suffered.
Paraquat is a chemical herbicide, or weed killer, commonly used in commercial agriculture to control weed and grass growth. Paraquat was originally introduced in the 1960s and is now used as the active ingredient in brand name herbicides like Gramoxone, Devour, Para-Shot and Quik-Quat. Known for its toxic effects on the liver, kidneys, heart, and other vital organs, Paraquat can cause fatal poisoning if ingested or inhaled, even in small amounts. For this reason, the pesticide has been banned in more than 30 countries, though it is still widely used in the United States. Paraquat is so toxic, in fact, that its purchase and application in the U.S. has been restricted to certified commercial applicators who complete a training program on how to safely use and handle the product. However, the training program focuses mainly on the risk of Paraquat poisoning if the pesticide is ingested, and there is growing evidence that certified applicators may face an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, even when following the recommended guidelines for mixing, spraying or handling the toxic weed killer.
Paraquat has made headlines in the U.S. recently as those exposed to Paraquat seek to hold the makers of the toxic weed killer accountable for their Parkinson’s disease diagnoses and other significant injuries. Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, Syngenta AG, and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP are named as defendants in the latest Paraquat lawsuit brought by a licensed applicator, which was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiff, J. Patrick Hays, alleges in the lawsuit that the weed killer Paraquat is “dangerous to human health and unfit to be marketed and sold in commerce, particularly without proper warnings and directions as to the dangers associated with its use.” Hays states that he was exposed to Paraquat as a commercial applicator and developed Parkinson’s disease as a result of direct and indirect exposure to the toxic pesticide over the course of approximately four decades.
According to Hays’ claim, after successfully completing the required Paraquat certified applicator program, he routinely sprayed the pesticide on farmlands in Monroe County, Missouri, where he lived and worked. “On numerous occasions, Plaintiff could feel the Paraquat on his skin during mixing and application of the Paraquat products,” the lawsuit states. “On multiple instances, Plaintiff remembers being coated with Paraquat while applying it.” In addition to direct exposure from spraying Paraquat between the years of 1965 and 2005, Hays indicates that he was exposed to the substance indirectly because of pesticide drift and contamination of his drinking water, as he also lived nearby fields where Paraquat was sprayed. Overall, Hays estimates that he was exposed to Paraquat products more than 100 times, without having any knowledge that Paraquat exposure could cause adverse human health effects.
Hays began experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease approximately 10 years ago and was diagnosed with the neurological disorder in 2016. However, it wasn’t until earlier this year that he learned about the connection between Parkinson’s and exposure to Paraquat products. “Defendants knew or should have known that Paraquat was a highly toxic substance that can cause severe neurological injuries and impairment,” Hays’ lawsuit alleges. “Despite its knowledge that exposure to Paraquat was dangerous, Defendants continued to promote their Paraquat-based products as safe.” Hays’ Paraquat claim joins a growing number of lawsuits brought against the makers of Paraquat products by plaintiffs who allege that they could have avoided a Parkinson’s diagnosis if they had been properly warned about the potential side effects of Paraquat exposure.