Did you know that one of the most commonly used herbicide has been linked to Parkinson’s disease—and that it’s so toxic, one sip could be fatal? Paraquat, which has been manufactured by Growmark, Syngenta and Chevron U.S.A., is a liquid herbicide used to clear agricultural fields for new crops. The question is whether these manufacturers knew how toxic their product is—and continued to sell it anyway.
What is Paraquat?
Paraquat is a weed killer. It also goes by the names Para-SHOT, Helmquat, Parazone, Firestorm, Ortho-Paraquat, Quick-Quat, Devour and Blanco, according to the National Law Review. The herbicide has been banned in multiple countries around the world thanks to its toxicity, but it’s the most widely used industrial herbicide in the United States.
Why Are There Lawsuits Against Paraquat Manufacturers?
There are two reasons. First, paraquat has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, a devastating neurodegenerative disease that causes movement problems along with cognitive impairment and a host of other symptoms. Agricultural workers who have been in contact with paraquat are developing Parkinson’s.
There have been multiple scientific, peer-reviewed studies that link paraquat to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, and the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council submitted a letter to the EPA, urging them to ban the herbicide. The first Parkinson’s-related paraquat lawsuits were filed in Illinois in 2017 and continue to add up. In fact, in April 2021, a motion was filed in federal court to ask the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate all the recent paraquat lawsuits in federal court, across all districts. This is a strong sign that the number of lawsuits is growing.
The second reason is that the paraquat manufacturers knew how dangerous this herbicide is, but kept selling it anyway. One scientist claims he started warning his company about paraquat as early as 1990, to little avail. He apparently encouraged the company to add more of an emetic—a substance that encourages vomiting—since the chemical is so toxic. Not only do people develop Parkinson’s when exposed to paraquat, but many people have used it to commit suicide. More emetic could easily prevent these deaths, yet the manufacturers refused to add more. Experts speculate that this shows they knew exactly how dangerous their product is.
If you’re an agricultural worker who has developed Parkinson’s after paraquat exposure, you may be able to sue the manufacturer. Call a products liability attorney as soon as possible.
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