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Paraquat (Gramoxone) is a widely used herbicide in agriculture and commercial settings across the country. However, medical evidence suggests that long-term contact with this substance, manufactured by Swiss chemical giant Syngenta, increases the risk for serious health issues.

Hundreds of plaintiffs across the country have taken legal action against several manufacturers after suffering from early-onset Parkinson’s disease due to exposure to Paraquat.

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is committed to doing everything we can to hold these companies accountable and win justice as well as financial compensation on behalf of victims. 

Quick Summary

  • Paraquat has been associated with many severe adverse effects, including Parkinson’s disease.
  • Although paraquat has been restricted in thirty-two nations, the United States has not yet followed.
  • Schmidt & Clark, LLP has the resources and experience to handle your case from start to finish.

Paraquat MDL Class Action

A lawyer writing down a Paraquat Class ActionHundreds of lawsuits are looming over the horizon and could be heard in both state court and under one federal judge. 

In September 2021, a groundbreaking study from France revealed that exposure to these chemicals during pregnancy could result in neurological damage for unborn babies, increasing their risk factors significantly. 

Considering this data, it is expected that even more litigation will occur before the paraquat bellwether trial ends. With that in mind, the first paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuit went to trial in November 2022.

History of Paraquat 

Used in the agriculture industry as an effective herbicide, it can also spell death for any unfortunate enough to ingest this powerful but toxic chemical. So much so that many countries around the world have chosen to completely prohibit its use.

The North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology collected data about paraquat poisoning (PQP) from 2004 to 2008 and found that this chemical causes organ failure and is often fatal [1]. 

In 2013, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) and the California Poison Control System (CPCS) wrote letters of concern to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

The letters cited a string of fatalities brought on by the ingestion of paraquat in California’s San Joaquin Valley. AAPCC reported 50 paraquat-related deaths, of which at least twelve were due to unintentional absorption of the chemical from a beverage container [2].

Is Paraquat Banned in the United States?

Paraquat in front of a gavel and a law book on a table with the american flagNo, Paraquat is not banned in the United States. Syngenta is currently authorized to sell paraquat-based formulations in twenty-eight countries, including Australia, Japan, and Mexico [3].

Despite its potential health risks, Paraquat is still used in the United States by commercial farmers who are licensed to do so. 

This chemical has been banned or restricted in a third of all countries around the world, except for China and America. However, there have been efforts from lawmakers seeking change regarding use within US borders. 

In September 2021, the EPA re-approved the authorized usage of paraquat in the United States despite such movements. 

The goal of this reevaluation is to make sure that the authorized pesticides may still be used safely in accordance with the most recent scientific findings available. However, EPA’s final approval left many farmworkers exposed to severe health risks.

Parkinson’s Disease and Paraquat

Parkinson’s death rate has increased by about 63% in the US over the past two decades, according to a study conducted at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health [4]. 

Along with poisons in air pollution and genetic factors, paraquat and other pesticides are considered risk factors for the disease by many researchers.

Syngenta has repetitively assured customers and regulatory authorities that scientific research does not establish a link between Parkinson’s disease and the chemical.

Insisting that its weedkiller does not easily cross the blood-brain barrier and does not have an adverse effect on brain cells that results in neurological disease.

However, in the past decade, research has uncovered a worrying trend; extended contact with paraquat exposure can be linked to Parkinson’s Disease through oxidative stress [5,6].

This neurological disorder gradually deteriorates both body and mind as it steals control over physical movements away from its victims [7].

Related Article: Paraquat Lawsuit for Parkinson’s Disease

Paraquat Parkinson’s Medical Studies

A doctor holding a medical book about medical studies on parkinsonsStudies from 2009 and 2011 examined the link between developing Parkinson’s disease and exposure to the pesticide paraquat. While the research found that pesticides don’t directly cause PD, paraquat can affect mechanisms of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction [8].

More recently, a cache of documents that date back to 1950  strengthened this connection. On October 20, The Guardian and The New Lede published a story about what these internal documents reveal.

While these records do not show that Syngenta believed that the pesticide causes PD, they do indicate that the company wanted to focus on tactics to protect product sales, disprove external scientific research, and persuade regulators [9,10].

As such, numerous lawsuits have been filed against Syngenta and Chevron (their distributor in the US) for their role in exposing individuals to this dangerous chemical. These victims were mainly farm workers and people living near farms who were most at risk from its harmful effects [11].

“Paraquat kills cells through a mechanism called oxidative stress, meaning that altered cell chemistry leads to cell damage and death.”
–  Angela Hind, Medical Consultant

Do I Qualify for a Lawsuit?

In the US, anyone who has been injured or developed a serious health condition due to chronic paraquat exposure may qualify to file a lawsuit against its manufacturer and distributor to recover damages. 

The great majority of plaintiffs in the ongoing paraquat lawsuits are either people who applied the pesticide, had direct paraquat dichloride exposure while working in agriculture, or worked in a facility that produced it.

If you belong to one of these groups and have developed Parkinson’s disease, you already share a lot of similarities with individuals who previously filed paraquat lawsuits.

Ultimately, to know if you qualify for a lawsuit, it’s best to speak to experienced attorneys familiar with this type of legal case to evaluate your claim and determine if filing a suit is worth pursuing. 

A consultation with a paraquat lawyer can help you understand more about your rights and what to expect as part of your legal action.

An attorney can also help assess the strength of your case to decide on the most powerful way to proceed legally and seek justice for your unfortunate situation. 

Impact on Paraquat Lawsuits

A lawyer studying the impact of paraquat on lawsuitsRecently, the link between paraquat exposure during pregnancy and a specific neurologic birth defect has come to light. This happened at an opportune time, as the paraquat litigation against the manufacturer of paraquat and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. is quickly gaining traction in Federal Courthouse. 

There is now a paraquat class action, and all paraquat cases are now consolidated into one major MDL Class Action lawsuit. This was done for greater efficiency when seeking justice for those harmed by this potentially dangerous chemical substance.

This year, paraquat MDL judge Nancy Rosenstengel has decided to move forward with twenty-six of the then 700+ paraquat lawsuits in the bellwether trials.

But the paraquat class action lawsuit is still growing, and there are currently more than a thousand paraquat cases.

Does the Statute of Repose Apply to a Paraquat Lawsuit?

Although it may seem like there is no hope for those injured by paraquat, the statute of repose places a hard deadline on filing suit. However, individuals affected still have recourse. 

For example, in certain states where illnesses are latent and potentially caused by toxins such as paraquat or when defendants intentionally conceal any danger associated with its use, an individual’s lawsuit will not be dismissed under this law. 

Those who believe they’ve been adversely impacted must act quickly to protect their right to pursue action against the negligent party.

Can I File a Paraquat Lawsuit?

A lawyer filing a Paraquat Lawsuit in an officeIf you have been exposed to the weed killer paraquat and have been significantly impacted by the toxic effects of this highly-dangerous herbicide chemical, filing a lawsuit may be a viable option for you. 

Paraquat can cause neurological diseases and is suspected to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Nearby crops lose their value when treated with paraquat, proving that this harmful substance does not just impact people but also our environment. 

If you are looking for legal help or want to learn more about your rights as an individual affected by paraquat exposure, contact an experienced attorney familiar with environmental law.

They will be able to provide knowledgeable advice regarding whether filing a lawsuit is the appropriate course of action for your unique situation.

See all related toxic tort lawsuits our lawyers have covered.

FAQs

What Is the Paraquat Settlement?

The paraquat settlement is the compensation for those exposed to paraquat, totaling around $100.000. However, you will only know how much the payouts are once the bellwether trials go further along.

How Do I Know if I Was Exposed to Paraquat?

You can know if you are exposed to paraquat by identifying certain symptoms, including headaches, nausea, dizziness, respiratory issues, accelerated heartbeat, chest pain, changes in vision, or difficulty concentrating.

Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s?

Yes, Paraquat can cause Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat exposure can cause damage to the cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain, a region important for producing dopamine, which helps control movement.

Call a Paraquat Lawyer Today

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of this harmful pesticide due to its link to Parkinson’s disease.

If you have been diagnosed with this brain disorder after prolonged exposure to paraquat, you may be eligible for financial compensation. 

To do this, you need to provide evidence of exposure and fill out our plaintiff assessment questionnaire (PAQ). We can help you through the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. 

Get in touch with our experienced paraquat lawyers for a free consultation.


References:

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15563650903076924
  2. https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/paraquat-dichloride-one-sip-can-kill
  3. https://www.syngenta.com/sites/syngenta/files/The-global-market-in-paraquat-updated-23-March-2022.pdf
  4. https://parkinsonsnewstoday.com/news/deaths-from-parkinsons-rising-us-two-decades-study-reports/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23713084/
  6. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-study-finds-two-pesticides-associated-parkinsons-disease
  7. https://misuse.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/error/abuse.shtml
  8. https://misuse.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/error/abuse.shtml
  9. https://www.thenewlede.org/2022/10/secret-paraquat-papers-reveal-corporate-tactics-to-protect-weed-killer-linked-to-parkinsons-disease/
  10. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/oct/20/syngenta-weedkiller-pesticide-parkinsons-disease-paraquat-documents
  11. https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/american-farmers-pursue-syngenta-over-herbicide-s-link-to-parkinson-s-disease/47099082

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