Paraquat, also known as paraquat dichloride, is a powerful herbicide used in commercial agriculture and landscaping to kill weeds that infest crops and other plants. Despite the incredibly harmful side effects anyone who encounters the herbicide suffers, paraquat has been used since the 1960s in farming. It is still used in commercial farming and landscape settings in the U.S.
Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn that even a small sip can kill someone who accidentally ingests paraquat. In 2014, the EPA found that 27 people died of paraquat poisoning, and 80% died of accidental ingestion of paraquat. Many victims have filed paraquat exposure lawsuits against manufacturers and agricultural companies for exposing them to this harmful chemical.
Exposure to Paraquat Is Linked to Multiple Serious Medical Conditions
Anyone who ingests or is exposed to paraquat may suffer from the following medical conditions:
- Organ failures, including of the heart, liver, and kidneys
- Lung scarring
- Pulmonary edema
- Respiratory issues
- Esophageal scarring
Ingesting a small amount of this harmful chemical can also lead to death, especially because there is no antidote for paraquat. Other types of exposure can lead to long-term complications resulting from the above conditions.
Some studies show a link between Parkinson’s disease and exposure to herbicides like paraquat. Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects the body’s nervous system, and it’s said to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, according to Parkinson.org. One such environmental factor could be exposure to paraquat and other herbicides.
Symptoms of Paraquat Exposure
Someone who ingests paraquat can suffer immediate consequences. Paraquat damages the lining of the mouth, stomach, and intestines, causing swelling and pain. The victim may also become nauseous and start vomiting, suffer from serious stomach pain, and have diarrhea or bloody stool. Unseen effects include damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs as the chemical travels throughout the body.
Some other symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Increased heart rate
- Trouble breathing
How Exposure to Paraquat Occurs
The most common and dangerous way paraquat exposure occurs is through ingestion. Some examples of paraquat ingestion include someone who accidentally drinks the chemical from a container in which paraquat is not meant to be stored, drinks from a cup that once held paraquat, or eating food with paraquat on it.
Another form of paraquat exposure is through skin absorption. This can happen over time with regular or long-term exposure to the chemical, or it can happen more immediately if paraquat is absorbed through a cut or other open wound on the skin.
Some people have also been exposed to paraquat from smoking marijuana treated with the herbicide. Inhaling the chemical causes internal consumption that damages the lungs and other parts of the body.
Who’s at Risk for Exposure to Paraquat?
Anyone who interacts with paraquat at all or on a regular basis is at a higher risk of paraquat poisoning and the serious side effects. That means anyone who mixes, loads, packages, or sprays this herbicide could develop paraquat poisoning. Some people who may be more at risk of exposure include:
- Agricultural workers, like farmers, growers, and pickers
- Licensed application technicians
- Herbicide manufacturing or packaging employees
However, there are mixed opinions in the scientific community regarding whether those who work with herbicides like paraquat are at a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease from exposure.
This chemical herbicide is not banned in the U.S. like it is in many other countries, including those in the European Union. Paraquat is under strict usage regulations from the EPA. To use paraquat, you must complete special training and obtain a commercial use license. The chemical must also be stored properly in safe packaging with clear warning labels.
You Can Seek Justice for Your Paraquat-Linked Medical Condition
If you or a loved one suffered from paraquat poisoning due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for damages. Whether you or your loved one are living with a serious medical condition due to paraquat exposure, such as organ failure or Parkinson’s, or you lost your loved one to paraquat poisoning, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Paraquat poisoning-related medical bills, both current and future costs
- Loss of income to recover from paraquat poisoning
- Loss of household income support if you lost your loved one to paraquat poisoning
- Funeral expenses if you lost your loved one
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disability
Nadrich & Cohen Are Here for Victims of Paraquat Exposure
At Nadrich & Cohen, we are ready to seek justice for you and your family if you’re suffering from a serious medical condition due to chemical exposure. We can review your case for free and fight on your behalf at no upfront cost to you. Contact our office today to hold the negligent party that caused your paraquat poisoning accountable.