Paraquat Linked to Parkinson’s Disease
Paraquat, an industrial weed-killer, has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease in farm and agricultural workers and others who were exposed to the herbicide. Recent studies indicate that the risk of Parkinson’s Disease for those exposed to Paraquat may be up to six times higher, depending on length and severity of exposure.
People who were exposed to Paraquat use in farming or agricultural work, and others who live near industrial farms or areas where Paraquat is used, may be at increased risk for developing Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder which may take years to develop, and exposure may have been in the past.
Though many countries have banned use of Paraquat, it is still sold in the U.S. and workers may have been exposed to the chemical for years while mixing, spraying, and processing crops using Paraquat products. Chemical companies which manufacture products containing Paraquat may be facing multiple Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease lawsuits.
Products Containing Paraquat
Herbicides and weed-killers that contained Paraquat include:
- Gramoxone (Syngenta)
- Ortho-paraquat (Chevron)
- Parazone (Henkel, ADAMA USA)
- Bonedry Herbicide (Sinon USA)
- Firestorm (MacDermid Agricultural Solutions)
- Helmquat (Helm Agro)
- Para-SHOT (Sharda USA)
Several manufacturers of Paraquat-containing products are now facing lawsuits filed by agricultural and farm workers who developed Parkinson’s Disease after exposure to products containing Paraquat.
Parkinson’s Disease and Paraquat
Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder affecting the brain’s ability to direct movement and other activities. It is caused by destruction or degradation of dopamine receptors in certain areas of the brain and results in symptoms such as:
- Difficulty with balance and coordination
- Tremors and shakiness
- Difficulty starting movement
- Abnormal muscle contractions
- Abnormal movements
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Mental and behavioral changes
- Vocal symptoms
Symptoms may begin as minor irritations and progress over time to debilitating illness and possible death. Paraquat is thought to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease by interfering with dopamine receptors and destruction of dopamine neurons.
Studies indicate that Parkinson’s Disease risk may be increased by 75% to as much as 600% depending on severity of exposure. Also depending on severity of exposure or toxicity, Parkinson’s Disease symptoms may occur immediately or may not develop for a long period of time.
Paraquat Banned in Other Countries
Paraquat has long been known to be highly toxic with internal ingestion potentially resulting in multiple organ failure. Less well-known is that other types of exposure, including inhalation and skin contact has been linked to increased risk for neurological damage such as Parkinson’s Disease.
Paraquat and products containing Paraquat are banned in at least 32 countries outside of the U.S., including countries of the European Union or EU. In the U.S., though the product remained available, in 1997 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended that use of Paraquat be restricted to industrial settings. This has still left many workers on farms and in agricultural settings, and those living near industrial farms, potentially subject to exposure and increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease.
Paraquat Manufacturers Fail to Warn
Though risks of multiple toxicities caused by Paraquat are widely known and warnings about ingestion (swallowing) are included on labelling. However, Parkinson’s Disease risk may have been hidden by manufacturers.
Paraquat products do not contain any warnings about the need for safety equipment such as masks, gloves, or personal protective gear, only warning about dangers of drinking or ingesting the chemical. People who used the products may have worn safety gear if they had been advised of the risks of exposure.
It has been reported that internal company documents from Syngenta, manufacturer of paraquat product, Gramaxone, show that the product could have been made safer. These documents reportedly show that Syngenta was aware of the Parkinson’s risk but failed to act to reduce the risk.
Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuit
Syngenta, Chevron, and other manufacturers of paraquat-containing herbicide products may be facing multiple lawsuits filed by farmers and agricultural workers who claim that exposure to Paraquat has caused them to develop Parkinson’s Disease.
Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuits claim that companies manufactured a dangerous product that could have been made safer and that the risks of use of the chemicals were hidden by the companies.
Agricultural and farm workers filing Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuits are seeking compensation for their injuries including medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.