What Is Paraquat?

“Paraquat is a toxic chemical that is widely used as an herbicide (plant killer), primarily for weed and grass control,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This chemical is highly poisonous. (1)

Paraquat dichloride is “registered in the United States since 1964 to control weeds in many agricultural and non-agricultural use sites. It is also applied as a pre-harvest desiccant on some crops including cotton,” states the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2)

The weed killer paraquat is marketed across the U.S. under different brand names. These include:

  • Gramoxone.
  • Cyclone.
  • Helmquat.
  • Parazone.

Syngenta, an agricultural company, is the manufacturer of Gramoxone, the most commonly used brand of paraquat.

Paraquat is most often used on these crops:

  • Soybeans.
  • Corn.
  • Cotton.
  • Alfalfa
  • Orchards and grapes.
  • Pasture.

EPA Paraquat Use Requirements

According the EPA, “All paraquat products registered for use in the United States are Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), which can only be sold to and used by certified applicators (and applicators under their direct supervision). There are no homeowner uses and no products registered for application in residential areas.” (3)

To load, mix, or apply paraquat, U.S. residents must be specially trained, beyond just receiving their Restricted Use Pesticide applicator license.

Paraquat Is Banned

“Many countries have already banned paraquat due to its acute pulmonary and cutaneous toxicity.” Other countries have instituted highly restrictive measures because paraquat is so dangerous. (4)

In the U.S., paraquat is classified as “restricted commercial use.” People must obtain a license to use the product. (5)

Why Is Exposure to Paraquat Dangerous?

Paraquat exposure is hazardous. In particular, exposure to the pesticide puts people at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease “is a progressive neurodegenerative condition.” One key risk factor is exposure to toxic chemicals. (6)

Paraquat can damage your body when it touches the lining of your mouth, your stomach, or your intestines. (7)

If you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to paraquat, you may be entitled to compensation.

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Other Illnesses from Paraquat

“Breathing in paraquat may cause lung damage and can lead to a disease called paraquat lung.” Long-term exposure can lead to scarring of your lungs, called pulmonary fibrosis. This medical condition makes it hard for you to breathe. (8)

You can become ill if paraquat comes into contact with a cut on your skin. Paraquat may also damage your kidneys, your liver, and your esophagus (the tube that food moves through from your mouth to your stomach). (9)

You may die if paraquat makes a hole in your esophagus. You may also die if you develop severe inflammation of the area surrounding the major blood vessels and airways in the middle of your chest. (10)

“Paraquat is highly toxic. One small sip can be fatal and there is no antidote.” (11) So, if you swallow paraquat, you can die.

How Is Someone Exposed to Paraquat?

Generally speaking, “Licensed applicators of paraquat are the people most at risk for exposure.” (12)

You can be poisoned by paraquat by ingesting or inhaling it. (13)

You also may be poisoned if you absorb paraquat through your skin. Usually, poisoning occurs when your skin has been exposed for a long time, if the paraquat mixture is highly concentrated, or if paraquat comes into contact with an area of your skin that is not intact. Paraquat can get into your body more easily through sores, cuts, or severe rashes. (14)

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

“Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder.” Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary from person to person. The symptoms typically come on gradually and worsen over time. The rate the symptoms worsen also varies. (15)

Symptoms may include: (16)

  • Trembling limbs or head.
  • Stiffness of limbs and body trunk.
  • Slowness of movement.
  • Reduced balance and coordination, sometimes resulting in falls.

As the disease progresses, you may find it harder to walk and talk. You may also experience mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, fatigue, memory difficulties, and depression. (17)

Legal Options

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and were exposed to the harmful weed killer paraquat, consult with an experienced attorney specializing in complex, national consumer protection law.

You may be entitled to compensation if:

  • You were spraying paraquat.
  • You were exposed when working for a company using paraquat.
  • You had a restricted use pesticide license and were using a paraquat product, or your employer was doing so.

“Paraquat is so dangerous that it is banned in 32 countries. This weed killer is not banned in the United States, but its use is heavily restricted. Corporations creating products containing toxic chemicals that put people at risk of illness or make people seriously sick should be held accountable,” insists Robin L. Greenwald, head of Weitz & Luxenberg’s Environmental, Toxic Tort & Consumer Protection Unit.

If you have Parkinson’s disease and were exposed to paraquat, a lawsuit can help get the compensation you deserve.

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How Weitz & Luxenberg Can Help

If you have Parkinson’s disease and were exposed to paraquat, seek guidance from a recognized law firm. The firm you choose should have experience going up against the corporations that market and distribute dangerous products.

Weitz & Luxenberg is one such firm. We go after large national companies for exposing our clients to toxic chemicals, and we get them the compensation they deserve.

According to Ms. Greenwald, “My team has gone up against companies like the makers of paraquat before. These corporations need to be brought to justice when they show callous disregard for human health, and cause pain and suffering of their employees. These companies should compensate you for causing you to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Filing a lawsuit is the way to force them to do so.”

We want to help you stand up against the companies endangering your health. You may be entitled to these types of compensation:

  • Compensation for medical bills.
  • Compensation for the times you were ill and unable to work.
  • Compensation for pain and suffering.
  • Compensation for loved ones who have died.

Experience Winning Toxic Chemical Exposure Lawsuits

Our attorneys are prepared to evaluate your case and take appropriate legal action based on your specific circumstances. Plus, we have a solid history of winning cases involving exposure to toxic substances.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Weitz & Luxenberg helped secure a settlement with Monsanto on behalf of nearly 100,000 Americans who were diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to the glyphosate in Roundup. Roundup is the most popular weed killer around the world.
  • Weitz & Luxenberg achieved a $423 million settlement in an MTBE lawsuit against some of our nation’s largest oil companies. Across the country, 153 public water systems were contaminated with the toxic gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).
  • Weitz & Luxenberg played a leading role in helping to achieve an $18.7 billion agreement with BP on behalf of victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster. Nearly 3.2 million barrels of oil spread along the Gulf Coast destroying natural resources, economies, livelihoods, and wildlife.