Over the past several years, farmers and agricultural workers exposed to the herbicide paraquat on the job, people who live near areas where paraquat was sprayed on fields and crops, and others have filed lawsuits alleging that chemical giants Syngenta Corp. and Chevron USA failed to disclose that the toxic herbicide increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder for which there is no cure. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to the herbicide paraquat, contact Consumer Safety Watch as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation from Syngenta or Chevron, which an experienced paraquat Parkinson’s disease attorney can help you pursue.
Paraquat dichloride, or “paraquat,” is a highly toxic chemical that has been sold in the U.S. since the 1960s as a weed and grass killer. While paraquat remains approved for use in the U.S. today, more than 30 other countries have banned the weed killer due to concerns about its toxicity. In fact, paraquat is so toxic that the herbicide is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “restricted use” and is only approved for use by licensed commercial users. Even still, paraquat remains one of the most commonly used herbicides worldwide, even more so recently, as weeds have become resistant to Bayer AG’s Roundup herbicide. There are many different trade names for paraquat, including Gramoxone, Firestorm, and Helmquat, and many manufacturers, including Chevron and Syngenta.
The major concern surrounding paraquat use is the weed killer’s link to Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative brain disease that causes uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with coordination and balance. The people most at risk for adverse health outcomes due to paraquat exposure are licensed applicators who spray paraquat, including individuals using hand-held sprayers, “crop duster” pilots, and drivers of tractors equipped to spray paraquat, as well as farm workers and paraquat mixers and loaders. Additionally, property owners, individuals, and families living on or near farms where paraquat is sprayed may have been exposed to paraquat due to runoff, overspray, or herbicide drift, as may have school children attending schools neighboring such farms.
Although the makers of paraquat claim that the weed killer is safe when used as directed, recent research has shown that exposure to paraquat may trigger oxidative stress in the human body, which can damage brain cells and cause cell death, leading to the development of serious neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease. A number of scientific studies published in recent years linking occupational exposure to paraquat and an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease have resulted in a wave of lawsuits claiming that Chevron and Syngenta were aware that paraquat could cause Parkinson’s disease in farmers, agricultural workers, and other paraquat applicators, but failed to warn users about this risk.
Last summer, the makers of paraquat settled more than a dozen lawsuits in California that had been consolidated into a state Coordination Proceeding. There are currently more than 1,200 lawsuits pending in the federal court system alleging that exposure to paraquat causes injuries, including Parkinson’s disease. These lawsuits were transferred in June 2021 to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL), and the first trial is scheduled to be held on November 15, 2022. These early cases will serve as bellwether trials, which give the court an idea of how juries are likely to react to evidence and witness testimony that may be repeated throughout the litigation. Whether the federal MDL will yield any paraquat settlements remains to be seen.
The paraquat litigation is expected to follow a model similar to that of the Roundup litigation, a national mass tort involving claims that Monsanto’s best-selling Roundup weed killer causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a devastating cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. If you were exposed to the weed killer paraquat during mixing, loading, or application, or as a result of herbicide drift, do not hesitate to seek legal help. Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating degenerative disease, and if you developed Parkinson’s because of exposure to paraquat, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Contact Consumer Safety Watch today to find out how we can help.