Herbicide linked to Parkinson’s, other serious medical conditions
A popular weedkiller that’s used in Maine, across the country, and widely around the world has been connected to Parkinson’s disease, a devastating neurological disorder that affects movement and causes involuntary tremors, commonly in the person’s hands.
Known by its brand name Gramoxone, paraquat exposure increases the risk of Parkinson’s and other medical conditions, according to recent studies. An herbicide so toxic that even just one sip can be fatal, paraquat has been shown to cause Parkinson’s disease after both low-level and prolonged exposure. Due to safety concerns, paraquat has already been banned or restricted in more than 30 countries.
What is paraquat?
Classified as a “restricted use product” by the Environmental Protection Agency, paraquat is an extremely poisonous chemical that was developed in Switzerland in 1961 as a way to kill weeds and control grass. It’s since been banned from use in Switzerland and a multitude of other nations.
In the U.S., only commercially licensed users have access to paraquat. Since it’s highly poisonous, it’s commonly dyed blue and has a sharp odor to keep it from being confused with beverages like coffee. It also typically comes with an additive that induces vomit when ingested.
How do you get exposed to paraquat?
Since it’s a commercial product, licensed applicators (e.g., farmers and agricultural workers) are the most at risk of coming in contact with the poisonous weedkiller. There are four common scenarios in which a person is in danger of toxic exposure to paraquat.
- Ingestion: Swallowing the herbicide presents the biggest risk of poisoning, as just one sip can be deadly.
- Food and Drink Contamination: Since it can easily mix with food and water and some forms of it don’t contain safeguard additives like dye, odor, or a vomiting agent, eating or drinking something that has been sprayed with the herbicide can lead to poisoning.
- Skin Exposure: Poisoning is possible after prolonged skin exposure if a concentrated version of paraquat was used or if exposure occurred on damaged skin that has sores, cuts, or a severe rash.
- Inhalation: Breathing in paraquat can be poisonous and cause lung damage.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ingestion of even just a small amount of paraquat may cause:
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Lung scarring
Ingesting large amounts of paraquat almost always results in death and is characterized by:
- Acute kidney failure
- Fast heart rate
- Heart damage
- Liver failure
- Lung scarring
- Weak muscles
- Fluid in the lungs
- Breathing failure
What is Parkinson’s disease?
A progressive nervous system disorder that affects about 1 million Americans, Parkinson’s disease has no cure.
Those who have Parkinson’s can experience a wide range of symptoms that gradually develop over time, such as:
- Involuntary tremors in the arms and legs
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Bradykinesia (slow movements)
- Limb rigidity
- Difficulty with coordination and balance
Who can file a paraquat lawsuit?
Farmers, agricultural workers, licensed applicators, and anyone who lives in a farming community where paraquat is used may have been exposed to the dangerous herbicide.
Victims who were exposed to paraquat and developed Parkinson’s disease or other adverse medical conditions are filing lawsuits against the Syngenta Group, claiming the herbicide maker ignored and played down the connection between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease.
Our lawyers can help you pursue a paraquat lawsuit
The physical, emotional, and financial cost of living with Parkinson’s disease comes at a high price, which is why a company that continues to manufacture a product so strongly linked to the disease needs to be held accountable for its actions.
When companies don’t ensure their products are safe, other people — not the company — end up suffering the biggest consequences. If you or a loved one were exposed to paraquat and have developed Parkinson’s disease or some other serious medical condition, you may be entitled to compensation for your current and future medical bills, lost wages, your pain and suffering, and possibly other compensable damages.
At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, our attorneys know how to build a compelling case and aggressively advocate for your best interests. We’re not intimidated by big corporations or their lawyers, and we know what it takes to get results.
Companies that sell inherently dangerous or defective products need to answer for their negligence. We can help you seek justice. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us in Maine today for a free consultation. There are no obligations, and if you decide to hire us, you pay no fees unless we make a financial recovery in your case. That’s because we take cases involving paraquat exposure on a contingency fee basis. Call or email us right now.