Health Problems From Using Paraquat?

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Paraquat Mass Tort Lawyers in Louisiana

A gardener wearing a spraying tank filled with the hazardous herbicide Paraquat sprays someone's yard.

The herbicide paraquat (or Gramoxone) has been one of the most widely-used pesticides in the United States for decades.

The chemical is extremely toxic, which makes it highly effective as a weed-killer, especially on weeds that have become resistant to other herbicides like Roundup (glyphosate), another mass tort case.

According to our personal injury attorneys, in recent years, further study has shown that even low doses of paraquat, when repeatedly exposed, can be linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease. In fact, one study showed that paraquat exposure can increase the victim’s Parkinson’s risk by 150%.

With these findings, over 60 countries have banned the use of paraquat. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. has failed to restrict its use despite the mounting health concerns. The main producer of paraquat, Syngenta, also denies the link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.

If you or a loved one has developed Parkinson’s disease after using this toxic product, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages through mass tort. Mass tort is a type of lawsuit in which multiple victims of similar injuries from one company’s negligence pool their resources to streamline the legal process. Call the experienced mass tort lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation about your legal options regarding defective products like paraquat.


What is Paraquat?

Paraquat dichloride is a popular and effective herbicide that farmers use to control weeds and cotton desiccation. Paraquat manufacturers in the United States include Chevron, Growmark, Inc., and Syngenta, which manufactures paraquat under the name Gramoxone


Exposure to Paraquat Dates Back over Fifty Years

Paraquat was first approved for agricultural use in 1961. As a herbicide, it’s cheap and extremely effective, even against so-called “super-weeds” that have developed Roundup resistance. However, it’s only used in commercial applications, since it’s classed as a “restricted use pesticide,” meaning that only licensed professionals can apply it to crops.

Even with the restrictions, farmers use over 10 million pounds of paraquat each year. Paraquat is used on crops as diverse as corn, soy, cotton, peanuts, wheat, almonds, strawberries, grapes, sweet potatoes, and more.


Paraquat’s popularity has only increased

Because paraquat is effective on weeds that have developed glyphosate (Roundup) resistance, it’s become even more popular in the past 25 years. Since 2009, farmers’ use of paraquat has increased nearly 200%, even though it’s a restricted pesticide. In fact, the herbicide is banned in the European Union, China, and Brazil.


Is Paraquat Safe?

An orange weedkiller sprayer sits in a residential Louisiana lawn, potentially filled with the toxic substance Paraquat.

The dangers of paraquat toxicity are well-documented. Paraquat can cause Parkinson’s disease by causing oxidative stress, which affects patients’ movement. Paraquat is even used as a method of suicide in developing countries, due to its low cost and high fatality. Some studies have shown that paraquat can even damage organs through skin exposure and inhalation.

Because of these dangers, only specially licensed, trained applicators are allowed to apply paraquat to crops, per EPA regulations. However, even those applicators are at risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, through their repeated exposure to the herbicide.

Between 1990 and 2014, there were 200 incidents and 27 deaths from paraquat exposure, and since 2012, at least one death has been proven to be caused by paraquat. Just how poisoned these victims became depended on their type of exposure, duration, and the amount of paraquat they were exposed to.

Besides Parkinson’s, paraquat affects the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys, and causes toxicity reactions throughout the body. Paraquat poisoning can even lead to organ failure.


A number of scientific studies have linked paraquat exposure to Parkinson’s risk. A large 2011 study of agricultural workers showed that farmers exposed to paraquat were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who weren’t. In addition, data from Louisiana State University has shown that proximity to crop land sprayed with paraquat is correlated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s.


How Paraquat Contributes to Parkinson’s

While the mechanism of Parkinson’s disease isn’t fully understood, scientists believe that it’s caused by a lack of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Paraquat has been shown to kill nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine, which could explain the link to Parkinson’s.

As workers spray crops with the herbicide, they might breathe aerosolized droplets, giving the chemical a direct pathway to the brain. However it enters the body, it’s distributed throughout, and eventually makes it to the brain.


Agricultural Workers at Risk for Developing Parkinson’s from Paraquat Exposure

A Parkinson's Disease patient receives care and hold the nurse's hand.

The people most at risk for developing Parkinson’s are those farmers and farm workers who work directly around paraquat or with the chemical. Common exposure vectors include

  • Mixing or loading paraquat
  • Spraying paraquat
  • Maintaining the equipment and tanks used to apply paraquat to crops
  • Spending time in fields sprayed with paraquat

Even if you’re not in the agriculture field, you could be at risk of paraquat exposure if you live near fields sprayed with paraquat. The herbicide can also contaminate ground water and produce that’s later sold to the public.


What to Do If You’ve Been Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s after being exposed to paraquat, your first priority is getting the care you need. Parkinson’s is a serious, progressive disease, but its effects can be mitigated with proper treatment and therapy.

After securing your medical care, call the experienced paraquat lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys. We can help you find the evidence you need to strengthen your case, and find the compensation you deserve.


Call Experienced Paraquat Injury Lawyers in Louisiana

After developing Parkinson’s disease due to paraquat exposure, call Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys at for a free consultation. We’re a Louisiana law firm specializing in personal injury and mass tort lawsuits. You can trust that our team has what it takes to get you the compensation you need to survive. We’ve helped with over over decades of law practice, and we can help you too.

Call Our Paraquat Mass Tort Class Action Lawyers

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