Paraquat isn’t banned in the U.S. because a 2019 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report found insufficient evidence that it causes any human issues. The EPA then rolled back years of environmental protections.
Were you exposed to paraquat accidentally or through extended use as an agricultural worker and now suffer symptoms of paraquat poisoning, chemical exposure related to cancers, or other illnesses? In that case, you could contact a paraquat lawsuit attorney to fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.
What Is Paraquat?
Paraquat is an herbicide that several studies have linked to Parkinson’s disease and other severe medical conditions. Licensed individuals use it to kill weeds and grass. However, it is not available to the regular public. Still, because of its toxicity, you must have a license to apply paraquat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posts a fact sheet about the dangers of using herbicides like paraquat.
Does the U.S. Government Know Paraquat Is Dangerous?
Yes, even though the EPA report stated there was not enough evidence to show that this agent causes harm, the government knows it is dangerous. The actions taken to regulate paraquat demonstrate that it is a toxic chemical. For example, the EPA classified it as “restricted use,” while the CDC calls paraquat “highly poisonous.”
As a result, U.S. manufacturers must take these steps to identify paraquat:
- Dying it blue to distinguish it from potable beverages
- Adding a sharp odor to prevent accidental ingestion
- Adding agents meant to induce immediate vomiting
Is Paraquat Banned Elsewhere in the World?
A Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International report covers the dangers of this toxic chemical and lists the countries that have banned its use. The group put paraquat on its “Dirty Dozen” list of hazardous pesticides in 1985, but world leaders knew of its toxicity long before.
Countries That Have Banned Paraquat
- Sweden: 1983
- Kuwait: 1985
- Finland: 1986
- Austria: 1993
- Denmark: 1995
- Slovenia: 1996
The Confusion About Paraquat’s Dangers
According to the EPA report, the agency found no health risks of concern if the product is used as directed. However, the CDC notes that chemicals such as paraquat can leak into groundwater. In addition, licensed applicators are most at risk of paraquat poisoning.
Unfortunately, innocent victims can ingest paraquat when unaware it is in the water or food supply. Even though the EPA states that with licensed use, paraquat cannot cause harm, the CDC wrote, “Paraquat poisoning is also possible after skin exposure.” If the spray contacts the skin, open sores, or enters the body any other way, it can cause severe illness or even death from respiratory failure.
Expected Symptoms of Paraquat Poisoning
The CDC clearly lays out how paraquat can harm individuals. If you’ve been exposed to paraquat or any toxic chemical, you should know that it could cause both short- and long-term health effects. For example, some paraquat poisoning victims eventually develop Parkinson’s disease.
What other symptoms could you develop after paraquat poisoning?
- Accidental ingestion can lead to burning in the mouth, throat, and esophagus.
- Ingestion of even the smallest amount of paraquat can lead to lung failure, liver failure, kidney failure, and permanent scarring of the lungs, which can occur within a few days to weeks.
- Ingesting more significant amounts could mean symptoms begin immediately, such as heart damage, confusion, coma, or pulmonary edema.
Victims of accidental ingestions of substantial amounts typically do not survive.
Where Can I Get More Information if I Think I’ve Been Exposed?
If you have ingested paraquat, you should seek immediate treatment. In addition, the CDC recommends immediately removing your clothing and washing it thoroughly after exposure to paraquat. If you must pull your clothing over your head, it is better to use scissors to cut it off your body than expose other sensitive areas like your eyes.
Who Can I Call to File a Claim if I Have Been Exposed to Paraquat?
Suppose you develop a severe illness, such as Parkinson’s disease, as a result of prolonged paraquat exposure. In that case, the team at Nadrich & Cohen can help you demonstrate how your exposure contributed to your current medical situation.
We can help you fight for the compensation that covers the extensive losses you and your family will experience. For instance, we’ll interview eyewitnesses who may have seen your accidental exposure and document how that exposure led to your condition. Finally, we could help determine the source if your exposure was accidental. So, contact Nadrich & Cohen today to schedule a free consultation.