What Exactly Is Paraquat?Paraquat, also known as paraquat dichloride, is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States, even though it is banned in many countries worldwide, including China, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and European Union nations. This chemical is used to kill unwanted vegetation, weeds, and grass, and it is also used for the desiccation of crops like cotton before harvest. Although paraquat dichloride is legal in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies this herbicide as a “restricted use” chemical, which means that it can only be used and bought by commercially licensed users such as commercial farmers.
How Are Individuals Exposed to Paraquat Dichloride?Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can become exposed by:
- Ingesting the chemical
- Swallowing it
- Skin exposure
Who Is at the Greatest Risk of Becoming Exposed to Paraquat Dichloride?Typically, licensed applicators of paraquat dichloride are the most likely at risk of exposure to this chemical. However, since a decent amount of individuals and handlers deal with this herbicide, other people are also susceptible, including:
- Individuals who live in a rural area near farms that are sprayed with this herbicide
- Farmworkers, farmers, agricultural workers, and landscapers
- Anyone that works with or around paraquat dichloride
Poisoning Symptoms of Paraquat DichlorideBecause paraquat dichloride is a highly toxic chemical, poisoning can occur even if its exposure is brief. However, generally, prolonged exposure can lead to more severe injuries and even death. Some of the more common signs of paraquat dichloride exposure include:
- Pain and swelling of the mouth and throat after ingestion of a large amount of this herbicide
- Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea which can be bloody
- Confusion or coma
- Drastic kidney and liver failure
- Rapid heart rate
- Respiratory issues
- Muscles weakness
- Pulmonary edema
Paraquat and its Link to Parkinson'sParkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder where the brain cells progressively die. As they die, the dopamine levels drop, which will cause the symptoms of Parkinson's. Although these symptoms will start with a tremor in one hand, stiffness, and a loss of balance, they can quickly escalate into more problematic issues. However, even though the link between paraquat dichloride and Parkinson's disease is continually being researched, scientists today believe a strong connection exists between the chemical and an increased risk of developing this devastating disease. Studies have even shown that farmers exposed to these toxic herbicides have a 170 percent greater risk of developing Parkinson's than other non-farmers, and the longer these farmers work with these herbicides, the greater their risk of developing the disease.
Parkinson's Disease SymptomsThe signs of Parkinson's can be different for everyone. However, most early signs are often mild and can go unnoticed before they develop into more severe problems. Yet, the most common signs and symptoms of this disease include:
- Tremors or shaking, which usually begins in a limb such as a person's hand.
- Rigid muscles, which can occur in any part of the body and limit a person's range of motion.
- Slowed movement, which over time can make simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. For instance, a person's steps can become shorter when they walk, it may be challenging for them to get out of their chair, or their feet may drag as they proceed to take a step.
- Impaired balance or a person's posture can become stooped.
- Speech changes, such as slurred speech or hesitation before talking. The speech can even become more monotone and lost its usual inflection.
- An inability or a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements such as smiling, swinging the arms while walking, and blinking.
- Writing changes since it can become challenging for a person with this disease to write and can even change their writing style, making it much smaller.
How Long Will it Take to Develop Parkinson's After Paraquat Exposure?Numerous studies have confirmed that low-level chronic exposure to paraquat dichloride can substantially increase a person's risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Some researchers have even found that individuals who experienced extended exposure to this herbicide, such as young adults or teens, have a 200 percent to 600 percent increase in the risk of developing this disease. Yet, determining how long it will take for a person to develop Parkinson's after paraquat exposure will depend on various factors, including the age they started becoming exposed to this chemical and their exposure level. For example, individuals who eat food treated with this herbicide have a slight risk of developing Parkinson's. Yet, those who work in the food or agriculture business have a much greater risk of developing this disease and getting it sooner in life. However, it is important to point out that not everyone exposed to paraquat dichloride will develop Parkinson's disease, just as not everyone with a genetic susceptibility will develop it. But, since these links are being investigated, you should reach out to an attorney following your Parkinson's diagnosis to determine if you have a viable case.
Is Roundup the Same Thing as Paraquat?Even though Monsanto's Roundup is also a weed killed and used for the same purpose as paraquat dichloride, it does not contain paraquat. However, most farmers do use both of these herbicides together. Unfortunately, Roundup is linked to different diseases, which creates confusion between the two, especially since Roundup lawsuits are often similar to paraquat Parkinson's lawsuits.
Filing a Paraquat Dichloride Lawsuit—What You Need to KnowIndividuals exposed to paraquat dichloride and later diagnosed with Parkinson's disease may be entitled to file a legal claim against any party deemed responsible for their exposure. Typically, the individuals who may pursue a paraquat lawsuit include those who:
- Sprayed, used, or came into contact with this herbicide
- Worked at a company that used paraquat
- Lived or continue to live near farms where the chemical was sprayed
- Were otherwise exposed to paraquat
Proving Paraquat ExposureMost farmers and those who work with chemicals often know about the risky herbicides they use. Some people, however, live near farms and may have no idea that they were exposed to a dangerous chemical such as paraquat, or about the link between Parkinson's disease and this exposure. For these reasons, if you have Parkinson's disease and you live in a rural location or near a farm, you need to reach out to a skilled paraquat attorney right away. These lawyers can investigate your claim and determine a connection between your paraquat exposure and your illness.
Should You Pursue a Paraquat Lawsuit?No money can take away the pain, stress, and suffering this chemical exposure has caused you. Filing a lawsuit to recover damages, however, could provide you with the compensation you need to start rebuilding your life and get the treatment you require. It can also bring you the justice you deserve by holding the at-fault parties answerable for the harm you endured. In addition, these lawsuits can also help raise awareness about the dangers of this toxic chemical and spread the word to others about their legal remedies if they have been affected.
Compensation Available in a Paraquat LawsuitIf you are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after being exposed to paraquat dichloride, you may seek compensation. This compensation can include:
- Past, current, and future medical bills related to your injuries such as doctor visits, prescription medications, assistive medical devices, and emergency room visits.
- Lost wages.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering caused by your injuries or the recovery process.
- Funeral and burial expenses if death occurred.
- Punitive damages, if they are appropriate.
Paraquat Lawsuit SettlementsEven though there have not been any jury verdicts or settlements awarded in paraquat cases just yet, many attorneys are still accepting new cases. If more lawsuits are filed, there is a possibility that a class action multi-district litigation will be created for these paraquat Parkinson's suits. Consequently, these cases may likely lead to some type of global settlement, resulting in all the plaintiffs receiving an agreed settlement payout. However, because these lawsuits are still pending, it is important to reach out to a skilled paraquat lawyer as soon as possible to go over your legal options and help ensure you can collect the maximum compensation you deserve.
Reach out to an Experienced Paraquat Attorney Today, and Get the Legal Help You NeedIf you or a family member has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and you believe it may be a result of paraquat dichloride exposure, you should reach out to a skilled paraquat attorney as soon as possible. Once retained, these attorneys can:
- Go over your case, evaluate its eligibility, and figure out the legal options you should pursue.
- Answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your claim and the legal process involved.
- Investigate the incident and figure out if there is a link between your Parkinson's disease and your paraquat dichloride exposure.
- Secure the evidence required to prove fault and damages.
- Go after the wrongful parties responsible for your injuries and losses and hold them accountable for everything you had to endure.
- Fight for the maximum damages you need.