Since the lawsuits against paraquat manufacturers are ongoing, it’s hard to determine what the manufacturers of paraquat knew. According to Syngenta, one of the primary manufacturers of paraquat herbicide, manufacturers claim they were aware of reports and statistics showing that paraquat had dangerous health effects on those who ingested, inhaled, or were exposed to the chemical.
They state they continuously acted on reports studying the risks of paraquat poisoning and exposure by revising their company’s formula, improving the packaging, and training users in safely applying the chemical in commercial agriculture settings.
Manufacturers Ignored Decades of Research
According to DrugWatcher, more than 700 lawsuits now claim the company ignored decades of research that proved the chemical’s toxic effects and even links to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Claimants in paraquat exposure lawsuits say the company and other manufacturers acted negligently in continuing to make the chemical herbicide and failing to make safety changes in a reasonable time.
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Effects of Paraquat Exposure and Poisoning
While ingesting paraquat leads to poisoning, exposure to this chemical in other ways can also cause serious damage to a person’s body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that medical conditions and symptoms linked to paraquat poisoning and exposure include:
- Pain and swelling of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines
- Organ failure, including the heart, liver, and kidneys
- Confusion and other neurological issues
- Pulmonary edema and scarring in the lungs
- Respiratory issues and trouble breathing
- Gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea, bloody stool, and stomach pain
- Muscle weakness
Reports of these effects have been around for decades. Manufacturers like Syngenta may have reacted to these reports to spur redevelopment and research initiatives to make their products safer as they say they did. But continuing reports, even as these companies continued to improve their products, might have been a sign that the product itself was too dangerous.
Is Paraquat Exposure Linked to Parkinson’s Disease?
The large number of lawsuits filed in the past few years deal with the potential link between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the nervous system.
While scientists don’t know exactly what causes Parkinson’s, they do know that it’s a combination of genetic and environmental factors that cause people to develop the condition. Symptoms of Parkinson’s include:
- Tremors or shaking
- Slow movement and reduced mobility
- Stiff muscles
- Diminished posture
- Balance issues
- Loss of unconscious movements, such as blinking
- Loss of speaking or writing abilities
Symptoms of Parkinson’s can take longer to develop, so victims may have a delayed diagnosis that could support this link. The symptoms of this neurological disorder can often be subtle, meaning some people may be misdiagnosed. Both situations prevent us from getting all the evidence and fully establishing the link between paraquat and Parkinson’s exists.
Paraquat Recalled and Banned in Other Countries
Many people have died due to accidental paraquat poisoning, whether that be from drinking the substance unknowingly, eating or drinking out of a container that once had paraquat in it, or inhaling it. There’s no antidote to paraquat poisoning, so the chemical continues to do damage even as someone receives treatment.
The dangers of being exposed to and accidentally ingesting paraquat have convinced many countries worldwide to ban the chemical outright. These countries include:
- Countries of the European Union
- Ivory Coast
- United Arab Emirates
Despite dozens of other countries banning the chemical herbicide and the many reports of poisoning and harmful effects of exposure, paraquat is still available for commercial use in the U.S.
EPA Decision to Allow Paraquat to Remain on the Market
In July 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made an “interim decision” to allow paraquat to remain on the market as long as “mitigation measures” were taken. This decision was made as a response to public outcry over the toxicity and danger of this chemical and its potential link to developing Parkinson’s disease.
The mitigation measures required by the EPA included:
- Packaging and labeling improvements
- Licensure and use requirements
- More education to the public about the chemical
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Seek Justice for Your Paraquat Exposure Injuries
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and exposed to paraquat, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer. The chemical exposure lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen stand up to these large companies to help victims recover damages.
We can review the facts of your case, determine if you have a claim against the manufacturer, and get you on the path to justice. Contact our office today for a free consultation.