Paraquat is a powerful herbicide that’s currently only approved for commercial use in the United States. It’s several more times more powerful than weed killers like Roundup, which contain glyphosate and are approved for household use, but is also consequently several times more toxic to humans. Paraquat is toxic enough that it can cause death instantly when ingested, but what makes it most dangerous might be the fact that research suggests that any type of exposure—even from just living or working near a farm where the herbicide has been used—may cause irreversible brain damage and Parkinson’s disease.
Despite the fact that new studies have shown the links between Paraquat and brain damage and Parkinson’s, the manufacturers of the herbicide have not yet acted to make the weed killer safer or taken it off the market until more tests on the long-term effects of Paraquat can be ran. As a result, lawsuits are currently being compiled into a single MDL (multidistrict litigation) targeting the manufacturer. Individuals who have suffered due to Paraquat exposure and its effects and their families are currently able to join the MDL.
If you’re wondering if you may be able to join the MDL and file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of Paraquat, the first thing you may want know is how common Paraquat exposure is and in what circumstances someone may be exposed to it. Since Paraquat is commonly used commercially on crops, it stands to reason that anyone who works or lives on a crop farm or near one is concerned about their chances of exposure. First, let’s go over how exposure can happen. Then we’ll go over what crops Paraquat is used on.
How Does Paraquat Exposure Happen?
Since Paraquat is so toxic, exposure can happen in multiple ways. The herbicide is used to control unwanted grass, weed, and crop growth in agricultural or non-agricultural areas. It tends to be used most often on weeds or growth that’s naturally resistant to weaker weed killers like Roundup or even in conjunction with weed killers containing glyphosate. Vegetation growth, over time, can become more resistant to glyphosate, so some farmers have started using both chemicals together.
Paraquat is typically applied in the following ways:
- To stop weed or unwanted vegetation growth in ground crop fields or fruit trees
- Applied to crops pre-harvest
- Applied at the end of a harvest season or before a new season, when fields need to be cleared completely
- To kill off entire unwanted crops, such as in instances when illegal marijuana crops are discovered
Much is still being learned about how exposure can happen, the negative effects of exposure, and the quantity or size of particles that are needed for exposure that can have lasting, negative effects, but studies have shown that exposure can happen in the following ways:
- When someone comes into direct contact with Paraquat, either when it’s touched directly or ingested
- When someone is close enough to inhale fumes or particles directly
In the legal actions that are being brought against Syngenta, the main manufacturer of Paraquat, people have come forward with diagnoses of Parkinson’s disease and other evidence of brain damage after working with, working near, or even living near farms and groves areas where Paraquat was used. This suggests that the herbicide’s particles are even dangerous when they’re airborne and travel. It is also probable that long-term, repeated exposure is what makes this type of exposure dangerous.
What Kinds of Crops Are Farmed with Paraquat?
Paraquat can be used to treat a wide range of agricultural crops and fruit trees. It’s been used commercially in the U.S. for more than 50 years. Currently it’s estimated that farmers in the U.S. use more than 8 billion pounds of Paraquat every year.
It’s used most on the following types of crops and trees:
- Sweet potatoes
- Citrus trees
Unfortunately, with the current litigation that’s targeting Roundup and other weaker, glyphosate-based herbicides, many farmers have turned to using Paraquat instead of weed killers containing glyphosate. This makes it even more imperative for the manufacturers of Paraquat to create a chemical formula that’s safer for use. If they cannot do so, then the product should be taken off the market for further testing.
How Do I Take Legal Action Against Syngenta?
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or have experienced the symptoms of it and worked with Paraquat, worked near it, or lived or worked near a farm where it was used, it may be possible for you to join the MDL against Syngenta. As more victims come forward sharing their experiences, scientists and researchers can learn more about how Paraquat exposure is dangerous and in what ways. With this information, we can build as strong of a case as possible against those who allowed Paraquat to be sold in the U.S. given its inherent dangers.
Frost Law Firm, PC is currently accepting claims from anyone looking to file a Paraquat lawsuit. We believe that Syngenta had a duty to keep consumers informed about the dangers of the herbicide and the links between it and Parkinson’s disease. Syngenta failed that duty by not making the herbicide safer for use or not pulling it from the market when research highlighting the links became known. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. You can also learn more on our Paraquat FAQ.