Paraquat is a widely used herbicide often sold under popular brand names such as Gramoxone, Parazone, and Firestorm. This chemical compound is so toxic that the US supply has a distinct blue color, an unpleasant odor, a vomit-inducing additive, and is only available to licensed users. Introduced in 1961, it’s still one of the most commonly used herbicides today.
Unfortunately, the use of Paraquat has led to a number of severe and sometimes deadly consequences. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been affected by Paraquat poisoning.
People who work outside of the agriculture industry might not think they’ll ever need to file a paraquat lawsuit. However, the risk from this ubiquitous chemical extends beyond those who are licensed to spray it on crops
Paraquat has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, and those who live close enough to farms that use it have an increased risk of developing this degenerative neurological condition.
The three routes of toxic paraquat exposure that can lead to health problems are ingestion, inhalation, and exposure through the skin. Ingestion of contaminated food and beverage is the most common type of paraquat poisoning.
Occupational exposure via agriculture is the highest source of risk, but even people who are not farm workers, herbicide handlers, or produce transporters may still be vulnerable to the herbicide’s damage and subsequently need the help of a Parkinson’s disease lawyer.
Evidence and Causes of Paraquat Exposure
Acute poisoning sustained by agriculture workers requires immediate medical attention and carries a high mortality risk. Poisoning has occurred in cases of accidental ingestion of paraquat illegally transported in unmarked beverage containers.
Ingesting even moderate amounts can result in throat swelling, pain, nausea, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Dehydration and low blood pressure follow. Within several days to weeks, lung scarring and organ failure can occur, leading to seizures, coma, and possibly death.
Survivors often experience long-term damage to their health.
Less severe exposures can still result in serious illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms include but are not limited to hand tremors, involuntary movements, walking difficulties, impairments in speech, mood and sleep disruptions, and toileting changes.
Paraquat is used for a wide variety of crops including soybeans, vegetables, potatoes, cotton, coffee, wheat, apples, oranges, and rice. The EPA has paraquat regulations in place such as restrictions on storage and use locations, but concedes that there is risk of spray drift to people in close proximity to treated fields.
Prior to 2016, non-certified workers under the supervision of certified applicators could use paraquat. As of 2016 the EPA has changed the regulations to require that only certified personnel use the chemical. Prior to this time, many farm workers used paraquat without proper training or knowledge of its level of risk.
Paraquat Lawsuits & Legal Options
Agriculture workers are seeking legal representation in increasing numbers over the alleged connection between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat lawsuits are based on the failure of the manufacturer and distributors to warn the public about the consequences of exposure to the herbicide.
People who have suffered economic losses from paraquat exposure, such as lost wages and medical bills, are entitled to compensatory damages. Victims who have suffered the significant impacts to quality of life brought about by paraquat poisoning are also entitled to compensation for punitive damages.
The right legal representation is important for anyone who may have experienced serious illness due to Paraquat exposure. Contact Napoli Shkolnik’s Paraquat attorneys for a free case evaluation with an experienced lawyer.