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Parkinson’s disease from paraquat: What you need to know

A male farmer spays herbicide in a field

Studies have found exposure to a toxic chemical called paraquat – which is used in weed killers – is linked to Parkinson’s disease, a devastating neurological disorder.

Known by the brand name Gramoxone, paraquat is widely used around the world. The chemical is so dangerous that even one sip could kill you. But you don’t have to drink it to be gravely injured. Research finds that prolonged and low-level paraquat exposure can lead to onset of Parkinson’s. The chemical, which is applied using handheld sprayers and sprayers connected to airplanes and tractors, is easily absorbed by the skin.

What is paraquat and why is it dangerous?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, paraquat, first introduced in 1961, is a toxic chemical used primarily to kill weeds and control grass. The highly poisonous chemical, classified by the Environment Protection Agency as a “restricted use product,” can only be used by licensed applicators.

Lawsuits filed against agrochemical company

Herbicide maker Syngenta Group is already facing lawsuits that allege the company ignored and downplayed risks associated with exposure to paraquat. In the legal documents, two men allege they developed Parkinson’s as a result of exposure to paraquat.

Who might have been exposed and have grounds for a lawsuit?

Agricultural workers may be at risk of suffering early onset of Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat is used in agriculture and manufacturing. Anyone who was exposed to the herbicide may have grounds to file a product defect lawsuit.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is an incurable neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain. Symptoms may gradually develop over many years. Those afflicted with the disease may experience:

  • Tremor
  • Bradykinesia (slowness of movement)
  • Limb rigidity
  • Gait and balance problems

Researcher: Parkinson’s cases ‘exploding in numbers’

According to an earlier Parkinson’s News Today article, a neurologist warns that over the next 20 years the number of people with Parkinson’s may double. The neurologist, Bastiaan Bloem, MD., says the main reason is widespread exposure to toxic chemicals such as paraquat.

“Farmers are at a markedly increased risk of developing Parkinson’s,” Bloem said in the article. “If you feed a mouse paraquat … it will kill the dopamine producing cells in the brain. These chemicals are tremendously toxic to the brain.”

Several scientific studies have found links between paraquat and Parkinson’s, including a 2011 National Institutes of Health study.

A lawyer can help you demand justice

Companies have a responsibility to make sure people who use their products are safe. Unfortunately, companies sometimes allow people to use products that have design, manufacturing, and marketing defects, which could be grounds for a lawsuit. They put profits ahead of safety.

However, corporations may deny any wrongdoing when accused of allowing the use of an inherently dangerous product. Equipped with a team of lawyers, they typically will fight back against lawsuits. Some victims may give up and decide it’s not worth taking action.

But victims can level the playing field by working with an experienced personal injury attorney in their corner. At Dean Waite & Associates, LLC, our dedicated legal team knows how to build strong cases that get results.

If you or a loved one was exposed to paraquat and developed Parkinson’s disease, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today to learn about your legal rights and options. There is no obligation. Your consultation is free, and you pay nothing unless we win your case. Trust us to take a stand on your behalf. Don't Dean Waite.

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