Parkinson's Disease as a Result of Paraquat Poisoning - Paraquat Lawyer

pouring paraquat into sprayer's tank

Exposure to the herbicide paraquat has been linked to several serious health effects, including Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder. Paraquat is used primarily for weed and grass control by licensed applicators. If you have Parkinson’s disease and may have been exposed to paraquat through work in landscaping or agriculture, the attorneys of Hardison & Cochran would like to review your diagnosis.

You may have a legal right to demand compensation to cover your medical bills and other losses related to your illness.

Our lawyers are investigating cases of Parkinson’s disease caused by exposure to paraquat, a commercial grade herbicide made by Syngenta, a North Carolina company. Our knowledgeable product liability attorneys can analyze your work history and whether there is a potential link between your disease and paraquat exposure.

Contact Hardison & Cochran in Raleigh for a free consultation about a potential lawsuit based on your exposure to the paraquat herbicide and a recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Call us at (800) 434-8399 or contact us online. We have several offices in central and southeastern North Carolina and can meet you wherever it is convenient for you.

What is the Poisonous Herbicide Known as Paraquat?

Paraquat is a widely used herbicide primarily applied as an agent for weed and grass control. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restricts the use of paraquat, requiring people to obtain a commercial license to use the product.

Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC of Greensboro, N.C., markets paraquat under the brand name Gramoxone®. It says Gramoxone SL 2.0 targets even the most difficult-to-control weeds and delivers dependable burndown of emerged grass and broadleaf weeds in as little as 48 hours.

The safety data sheet for Gramoxone SL 2.0 list its hazards as:

  • May be corrosive to metals
  • Harmful if swallowed
  • Causes skin irritation
  • Fatal if inhaled
  • Causes damage to organs
  • Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure

Syngenta warns that agricultural land that has been treated with Gramoxone should not be entered within 12 to 24 hours of application. The company also specifies personal protective equipment (PPE) that should be worn by applicators, mixers or loaders and early-entry workers.

Paraquat can be fatal if swallowed or inhaled. Paraquat may be ingested by consuming contaminated food or beverages. It’s also possible to be poisoned after prolonged skin exposure, particularly if contact is near a cut, sore, or rash. Because paraquat is controlled in the U.S., paraquat poisoning is not common in the United States.

Once consumed, paraquat moves to all areas of the body. Paraquat will cause direct damage from contact with the lining of the mouth, stomach or intestines. Toxic chemical reactions to paraquat occur primarily in the lungs, liver and kidneys.

Recovery from paraquat poisoning depends upon the severity of exposure, health of the individual and how quickly medical attention is obtained.

If a person survives paraquat poisoning, long-term lung damage is highly likely. Other long-term effects may also occur, including kidney failure, heart failure and esophageal strictures (scarring that makes it hard to swallow).

Because paraquat is highly poisonous, Syngenta’s product as sold in the United States is dyed blue to distinguish it from beverages and has added to it a sharp odor to serve as a warning and an agent to cause vomiting if someone drinks it. Gramoxone containers have a lengthy and detailed EPA-approved warning label. Paraquat from outside the United States may not have these safeguards, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.

Chemical manufacturers have a legal responsibility to produce products that are safe and to warn adequately of hazards a product is known to pose. When manufacturers fail to fulfill this obligation, they may be held legally accountable for the harm caused by a product. Syngenta continues to deny a link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.

Relationship Between Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease

Numerous studies have found a correlation between an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease and farming areas, where pesticides are used. Multiple studies, including a review of what was known about the environmental toxicology of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and an investigation of exposure to 31 pesticides and their association with Parkinson’s Disease risk, began to focus on paraquat as a specific risk.

In 2011, a study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) Study showed that individuals were roughly two and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson’s after being exposed to paraquat or a similar herbicide known as rotenone.

The American Parkinson’s Disease Association explains that paraquat’s mechanism of action is the production of unstable molecules that contain oxygen and that react easily with other molecules in a cell. A buildup of reactive oxygen species in cells can damage DNA, RNA, and proteins. This is generally understood to be what causes the death of nerve cells in people with Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive movement disorder that causes victims to lose the ability to perform common daily activities. The most common motor symptoms of PD are tremors, stiffness or rigidity of the muscles, and slowness of movement. It also causes non-motor symptoms, including sleep problems, anxiety, depression and fatigue, among others.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, and available treatment can only make symptoms more manageable. Patients with Parkinson’s can expect a similar lifespan as the general population. However, if dementia develops – either dementia with Lewy bodies or PD dementia – the lifespan is shortened by about a year, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

A report in American Scientist says:

A 2009 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that exposure to paraquat and another pesticide called “maneb” within 500 meters of one’s home increased the risk of Parkinson’s disease by a whopping 75 percent. Two years later, another study in Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who used paraquat—most notably farmers—were 2.5 times more likely to have Parkinson’s than those who did not. A scientist at the National Institutes of Health who has investigated paraquat, Freya Kamel, told Danny Hakim of The New York Times in 2016 that the data were “about as persuasive as these things can get.”

That same New York Times report quotes an EPA filing by Syngenta, in which the company says the evidence of whether paraquat increases the risk of Parkinson’s is fragmentary and insufficient.

Every 15 years, the EPA completes years-long reviews of all herbicides and pesticides to confirm they are safe for use. In October 2020, the EPA reapproved the use of several pesticides in the United States, including paraquat. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease, paraquat use in the United States is at an all-time high over the past 25 years.

Can I File a Paraquat Lawsuit?

Several lawsuits have been filed against Syngenta alleging that the company knew about the neurological risks of paraquat and failed to properly warn farmworkers and other consumers. If you have had significant exposure to paraquat and a subsequent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, you may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, lost income and other costs and losses caused by your illness.

Our attorneys at Hardison & Cochran can review your medical diagnosis and your employment history and discuss your legal options. In addition to obtaining your medical records, we would help you to document your paraquat exposure and the adverse impact the disease has had on your life.

If we can see the way forward to pursue a paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuit for you, our personal injury attorneys will handle your case on a contingency fee basis. You will not owe any legal fee for our work unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you through a negotiated settlement or jury award.

Many large product liability cases, as the case against paraquat maker Syngenta may grow into, become class action or multi-district litigation, which often lead to settlement negotiations. If this begins to develop, we would have the opportunity to join your claim to the grouped lawsuits or pursue your case independently, depending on which was the better option for your circumstances. The first step is to contact us to provide a free review of your case and start compiling evidence for your claim.

Contact a North Carolina Paraquat Lawsuit Attorney

The attorneys of Hardison & Cochran are committed to holding accountable companies who harm North Carolina agricultural workers, farm families and others by failing to adequately warn consumers of known product hazards. Hardison & Cochran has helped unjustly injured people recover compensation for more three decades. Our attorneys stand up for injured individuals and families throughout North Carolina who have been harmed by others’ disregard for safety, including the negligence of faulty product manufacturers

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and have a history of exposure to paraquat through the herbicide Gramoxone made by Syngenta of Greensboro, NC, you may have a right to demand compensation for what this disease has cost you.

Let our compassionate attorneys examine your Parkinson’s diagnosis and work history and discuss your legal options for seeking compensation for your medical bills and other losses. If your PD is a result of exposure to paraquat, we will do all that we can to recover the maximum compensation available to you. Call us today at (800) 434-8399 or online to find out for free how we can help.