Although the European Union banned the use of paraquat in 13 countries in 2007, the herbicide is still widely used today in the United States. As one of the three most popular weed killers used worldwide, it may also be used on crops from other countries around the world.
What Is Paraquat?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Paraquat dichloride is a chemical agent used as a weed killer. It entered the market as an affordable, low-impact herbicide in 1962 and has seen widespread usage since then.
With growing concerns about the cancer risks of glyphosate, the primary ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, paraquat has seen a resurgence in recent years. However, paraquat may also be dangerous.
What Are the Dangers of Paraquat?
According to a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, there is some evidence that paraquat facilitates a neurodegenerative process that may lead to Parkinson’s disease. The study indicates that exposure to agricultural pesticides paraquat and maneb within 500 meters of the home increased the risk of Parkinson’s disease in 75% of study participants.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
According to the National Institute on Aging, Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder characterized by uncontrolled motion. Symptoms start slowly but can grow more severe over time. Signs of Parkinson’s include:
- Muscle stiffness
- Shaking or tremors
- Lack of coordination
- Balance issues
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty walking
- Behavioral changes
- Cognitive issues
- Depression, anxiety, and fatigue
- Urinary tract issues
Over time, individuals with Parkinson’s disease may become unstable due to impaired coordination and poor balance. They may find it difficult to speak, write, walk, or move naturally. Such difficulties can severely limit the victim’s ability to work or function optimally in their daily lives.
Other Potential Dangers of Paraquat
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), paraquat may also be related to other dangerous health conditions, such as:
- Heart problems
- Kidney problems
- Liver failure
- Lung problems
- Muscle weakness
If you or a loved one has experienced Parkinson’s disease or another illness as a result of exposure to paraquat, you may be eligible to file a claim against paraquat’s manufacturer. A paraquat lawsuit lawyer from Nadrich & Cohen can hear your story and help you determine whether you have a valid claim.
Who Still Uses Paraquat?
Paraquat is highly effective against plants that do not respond to glyphosate, which has only added to its popularity among U.S. agricultural and landscaping operations. However, the documented risks presented by paraquat have prompted the EPA to strengthen safety measures for paraquat use. According to the CDC, paraquat is only approved for commercial use by certified applicators in the U.S.
Paraquat is not approved for residential use, but it is still used to reduce weeds and grass in various agricultural products, including cotton, soybeans, corn, grapes, and alfalfa. According to a 2021 EPA report, approximately 8.5 million pounds of paraquat is applied to 15.8 million acres of U.S. agricultural land each year.
Paraquat is the active ingredient in several brand-name weed killers, such as:
This is not an exhaustive list, as many products on the market include paraquat dichloride. If you believe you or a loved one became ill after exposure to a paraquat-containing product, a hazardous materials attorney can discuss your legal options.
Can I File a Lawsuit for Paraquat Exposure?
If you experienced acute illness, Parkinson’s disease, or other ill effects due to paraquat exposure, you may be eligible to file a claim against the user, distributor, or manufacturer of paraquat.
According to the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, as of August 15, 2022, over 1,700 multi-district litigation (MDL) lawsuits are pending against manufacturers of paraquat-containing products. These suits allege that the manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of paraquat products knew it possessed toxic properties but failed to warn consumers of these dangers.
The following individuals could be eligible to file a lawsuit for paraquat injury:
- Agricultural workers
- Licensed paraquat applicators
- Factory workers who handle paraquat
- Workers who are regularly exposed to paraquat
Such injuries can be difficult to prove, especially when coping with the effects many years after exposure. A personal injury attorney familiar with paraquat claims and injury lawsuits can review your case and help you determine how best to move forward.
Damages You Can Seek in a Paraquat Claim
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it will affect you for the rest of your life. Parkinson’s disease can be treated using a combination of physical therapy and medication, but there is no cure. You will likely need to significantly change your lifestyle to account for mobility and cognitive issues resulting from Parkinson’s disease.
A paraquat injury attorney can help you seek compensation for all the costs associated with your diagnosis, including:
- Medication and assistive devices
- Medical expenses
- Physical and psychological therapy
- Lifestyle modifications, including house remodeling and transportation adjustments
- In-home assistance
- Loss of income
- Reduced income potential
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional distress
Statute of Limitations for Paraquat Lawsuits
When you file a lawsuit for personal injury, most states limit the amount of time you have to file your claim. In California, the deadline is typically two years from the discovery of your injuries, per CCP § 335.1. Other states may have different deadlines.
However, the statute of limitations can vary depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your injury, so it is best to speak with an attorney as soon as you receive a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or another illness due to paraquat exposure.
Contact Nadrich & Cohen to Discuss Your Paraquat Claim
If you experienced ill health effects after exposure to paraquat herbicide products, you could seek compensation for the losses you experienced. The paraquat injury attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen are committed to seeking justice on behalf of victims of paraquat exposure. We will vigorously advocate for your right to just compensation for your losses.
Contact our office today for a free consultation.