Paraquat Exposure Poisoning: Who’s Affected and Its Link to Parkinson’s Disease

Are you a farmer, agricultural laborer, or another individual who has used or been exposed to the commercial herbicide Paraquat? Were you diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or kidney failure? If you meet any of the above criteria and have been diagnosed with the said diseases, you may be a victim of paraquat poisoning and can file an exposure lawsuit Parkinsons.

Paraquat is a chemical herbicide that was first sold in the U.S. in 1971. Paraquat poisoning has been linked to Parkinson’s disease and kidney failure in those who have used or been exposed to the product. Science has yet to discover whether these diseases are caused by the herbicide, or simply a coincidence. Scientists are still examining the link between these diseases and paraquat to this day. There is a growing concern in the scientific community regarding a potential connection between Paraquat poisonings and Parkinson’s disease. Yet, many Americans remain unaware of the risks associated with this herbicide.

The use of Paraquat as an herbicide gained widespread popularity during the middle of the 20th century. It continued to be used even after a number of scientists linked it to lung damage in laboratory animals and concluded it was very toxic to humans. While various attempts were made to restrict its use, it has still been utilized by farmers in South America.

What is Paraquat? How and Why Paraquat Is Used?

Paraquat is a non-selective herbicide that was initially used as a defoliant during the Vietnam War. After being introduced to the market in the 1940s, Paraquat gained widespread use in agriculture and residential gardens. Due to its effectiveness at killing weeds, Paraquat quickly became a top choice for agricultural purposes.

Paraquat is a member of the group of isopropyl amine-based herbicides and is made of dimethyl bicyclooctanoate, which acts as a suicide inhibitor. This compound binds to the active site of the plant enzyme, preventing it from carrying out crucial biological processes such as protein synthesis. Little wonder then that weeds found in farm fields are killed within hours, once they are sprayed with Paraquat. Paraquat has been used extensively by gardeners and farmers alike. It does a fantastic job of clearing out weeds, as well as some other unwanted plants and grasses. However, it also has fairly well-known negative side effects on humans.

Fortunately, Paraquat has been outlawed in many countries due to the damage it causes to both human health and the environment. However, people still use it — and die from it — as there are a number of countries that still permit its use. If you think that’s really scary, you should know that paraquat is one of the most common causes of death by poisoning all over the world. Let’s take a closer look at this toxic herbicide and find out what makes it so deadly.

How Can Paraquat Exposure Occur?

In the United States, poisoning from Paraquat that occurs as a result of direct skin contact with the chemical is most common among farmworkers who use the weed-killer on crops. Exposure to the chemical through accidental swallowing or ingestion is also a concern among agricultural workers and their family members who live and work in areas where Paraquat is in use.

These are the main ways that humans can experience Paraquat exposure. However, even if you’re not regularly exposed, it can build up in your system over time. Health experts from around the world have urged consumers to stop using the weed-killer. Paraquat is known to be among the most toxic chemicals in humans. It has been linked to a number of health problems, particularly those related to respiratory issues.

While accidental exposure is the most common way to experience Paraquat poisoning, there are other ways that a person can become sickened by this chemical. For instance, a dose of Paraquat can be taken with food or liquids that are too high and can result in symptoms within 12 hours of exposure. A person who is exposed to high concentrations of Paraquat may experience symptoms almost immediately, so it’s important to seek medical care immediately if an individual displays any symptoms of poisoning.

Those who directly apply Paraquat to crops are at the greatest risk of harmful exposure and subsequent harm, but those who live in rural areas adjacent to heavy use of the herbicide may also suffer serious effects as a result of its toxicity.

Does Paraquat Increase the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease?

There is a lot of debate about the connection between Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease. However, a 2011 study conducted by the NIH found that people exposed to Paraquat were roughly 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease compared to those without any exposure.

In 2012, researchers with the Parkinson’s Institute in California discovered that people carrying a particular gene combination had an eleven-fold higher chance of developing Parkinson’s disease after exposure to Paraquat.

What Compensation May Be Available to Victims of Paraquat?

It is the responsibility of the companies that manufacture chemicals like Paraquat to ensure that those chemicals are safe for consumers and free from defects. When a company knows of risks posed by its chemical but fails to inform consumers about those risks, they violate the law and can be sued for damages. Talk to a paraquat exposure lawyer to learn more about this. When manufacturers of herbicides fail to warn about the dangers of their products, they can be held liable.

For those harmed by Paraquat, the most obvious compensation is monetary. Aside from lost wages and medical bills, victims can also receive compensation for pain and suffering and funeral expenses of those who have passed away as a result of exposure to Paraquat. If you have suffered harm as the result of exposure to Paraquat, it is possible that you could receive compensation for related damages such as lost wages, medical bills, physical suffering, and deterioration of quality of life.




About the Author Jeffrey Nadrich

Jeffrey Nadrich is the founder and managing partner of Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers. The firm has now grown to six offices throughout California.  The firm has recovered in excess of $350 million on behalf of its clients. Since 1990, Jeffrey Nadrich has represented injury victims and their families, workers, and consumers who have been seriously injured due to the negligence and willful conduct of others.


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