What is paraquat?
Paraquat is the more common name for the chemical paraquat dichloride, which is a popular herbicide in the United States. It’s most often used to kill grasses and weeds in crop fields, but it’s also extremely dangerous to humans. Accidentally drinking even a sip of the chemical can be fatal.
And now paraquat has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative neurological disease.
How is it used on crops?
Paraquat kills green plant tissue on contact. It’s highly effective as an herbicide, removing unwanted weeds and grasses from plots of land. Although not always the case, now only trained, licensed professionals may apply paraquat. It’s strictly for commercial use; it’s not available to homeowners.
To date, paraquat has been banned by 32 countries, including China and the European Union. However, according to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, paraquat usage has never been higher in the United States.
Paraquat Exposure Health Effects
Paraquat has been used commercially as an herbicide in the United States for half a century. One popular brand-name herbicide using the chemical is Gramoxone, made and marketed by Syngenta. The damage paraquat does to living tissue has always been widely known, since it’s used specifically for that purpose: killing weeds.
In 2011, Agricultural Health Study (AHS) researchers discovered that paraquat is linked to Parkinson’s disease. Users of paraquat were more than twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than nonusers. Other studies have also shown how paraquat is linked to Parkinson’s disease. With evidence building, in 2017, the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council (UPAC) called on the EPA to ban paraquat altogether, citing studies showing that people exposed to paraquat in their youth had an increased risk of 200%–600% to develop Parkinson’s.
You can be exposed to paraquat a few ways:
- Eating or drinking. Ingestion is the most common form of paraquat poisoning. The chemical easily mixes into beverages or food, so there’s a real danger if someone mistakenly eats or drinks from a container that was used to store paraquat. In the United States, a dye, strong odor, and vomiting agent are added to the herbicide to reduce the risk of accidental ingestion.
- Skin contact. Poisoning can also occur if the herbicide comes into contact with skin, especially over a long period of time. The effects are accelerated if there are open wounds or severe rashes on the skin.
- Inhalation. Your lungs can be severely damaged if you breathe in paraquat. Inhalation can occur when the chemical is aerosolized or if you smoke a plant that’s been sprayed by herbicide. Authorities have found trace amounts of paraquat in marijuana in the United States.
Side Effects of Paraquat Exposure
The side effects of paraquat poisoning vary depending on how much of the chemical you’ve been exposed to, the way you’ve been exposed, and how long the exposure lasted. Exposure to a large amount is often fatal.
Immediate side effects after ingesting a large amount of paraquat
- Pain and swelling in the throat and mouth
- Stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea (often containing blood)
- Low blood pressure
Side effects that can occur within hours or days after ingesting a large amount of paraquat
- Accelerated heart rate
- General weakness
- Difficulty breathing or respiratory failure
- Kidney failure
- Heart damage
- Lung scarring
- Fluid in the lungs
- Liver failure
Side effects after ingesting a small or medium amount of paraquat
The following health problems can occur within days or weeks:
- Scarring of the lungs
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Heart failure
Long-term side effects of paraquat poisoning
Exposure to paraquat over several years can lead to several health problems:
- Difficulty breathing
- Lung scarring
- Difficulty swallowing
- Inflamed skin
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk of birth defects
- Kidney damage
And paraquat has been linked to Parkinson’s disease.
Does paraquat cause Parkinson’s disease?
More studies need to be conducted to determine whether there’s a direct causal relationship between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. But several studies have found that paraquat is linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurological disease that occurs when the brain cells that make the chemical dopamine start to die. Dopamine helps the brain coordinate movement in your body. People tend to get PD when they’re older. Nearly a million Americans have Parkinson’s, and about 6 million people have the disease around the world.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse as time passes. Symptoms include the following:
- Muscle tremors
- Impaired balance
- Rigidity of muscles
- Shuffling walk
- Slowness of movement
Working with McIntyre Law
Filing a Parkinson’s disease lawsuit against a manufacturer is a complex process. The level of legal detail and paperwork involved can be intimidating for most people. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on the compensation you deserve.
The paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawyers at McIntyre Law can help you with your case. Our attorneys have decades of experience in products liability law, including Roundup lawsuits. If you have a case, we want to make sure you get a paraquat settlement and see justice.
Do you have a case for a paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuit?
To have a case in a Parkinson’s disease lawsuit, you need to have been diagnosed with the disease. You also need to have worked with paraquat, been employed by someone who used it, or lived near a location that was sprayed with the chemical. Paraquat has only been in commercial use in the United States since 1961, so you would only have been exposed after that time.
Paraquat herbicides have been sprayed predominantly on the following crops in the United States:
Brand names of some herbicides sold in the United States that use paraquat:
Is there currently a paraquat class-action lawsuit?
No, there is currently no paraquat class-action lawsuit. But victims are filing individual cases, and the paraquat Parkinson’s disease attorneys at McIntyre Law can help you build your case — no matter where you are in the United States.
Based in Oklahoma, we pride ourselves on small-town service and values. We promptly return all messages, and senior partner and founder Noble McIntyre is always available by phone.
How is a paraquat class-action lawsuit different from an individual case?
Class actions are filed for groups of people who suffer similar damages as the result of similar actions or inactions. But paraquat harms people in different ways, and to different extents. That means victims can file individual Parkinson’s disease lawsuits instead.
What to Know Before You File a Lawsuit
It’s difficult for a layperson to file a Parkinson’s disease lawsuit. Aside from knowing how a courtroom works and keeping track of important deadlines, you need to fill out a remarkable amount of paperwork. And to prove your case, you’d need to collect extensive medical records as well as documents that prove you were exposed to paraquat. It can be overwhelming, especially on top of any health problems you’re dealing with already.
It’s better to get the help of a paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawyer. Chemical manufacturing giants have an army of lawyers at their disposal. You need your own team of experienced attorneys, like those at McIntyre Law, to level the playing field.
What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee is a legal fee that an attorney agrees to accept upon successful completion of your case. They agree to a fixed percentage of any monetary rewards from your lawsuit. If there are no rewards from your Parkinson’s disease lawsuit, your lawyer doesn’t get paid. That means we only get paid if you do.
Meet Our Paraquat Attorneys
Our team of skilled paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawyers has decades of experience fighting for people who have been wrongfully harmed. We’ll work tirelessly to get the paraquat settlement you deserve.
Brenda Gómez O'Dell
The Oklahoma Statute of Limitations for Paraquat Lawsuits
Every state has its own laws that limit how long you have to file a Parkinson’s disease lawsuit. The staff at McIntyre Law can tell you exactly how much time you have, but it’s typically a couple of years from the time you learn of your diagnosis. If you think you might have a case, it’s very important that you contact McIntyre Law as soon as possible.
Compensation for Paraquat-related Parkinson’s Disease
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and you believe you’ve been exposed to paraquat in the past, you may be in line for a paraquat settlement. Courts have been known to award an array of damages, from medical to work-related to punitive.
Paraquat settlement compensation may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Emotional damages
- Pain and suffering