Paraquat is a popular weed-killer manufactured by Syngenta, Growmark, and Chevron USA that was used frequently over the years by homeowners and landscapers. This herbicide has since been highly regulated to use, but the people who used it or experienced Paraquat exposure are still at risk for developing symptoms and illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease. In fact, the prevalence of developing Parkinson’s disease after exposure to Paraquat has led countless people to file a lawsuit against the company.
One of the primary complaints behind many of the lawsuits that have been filed against the makers of Paraquat is that the manufacturer of the pesticide did not properly warn users about the potential health risks associated with the substance.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to this toxic chemical, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of Paraquat and receive compensation to help cover medical bills, lost wages, and other losses related to medical conditions you’ve experienced as a result of your exposure. The law firm of Florin|Roebig is highly experienced at helping clients navigate lawsuits against large companies and we’d be happy to work with you to ensure you get the most compensation possible.
What Is Paraquat?
Paraquat, or paraquat dichloride, is a weed-killing herbicide that has been shown to be highly toxic to people. This herbicide is primarily used to kill grass, weeds, and vegetation in both commercial and private settings. Paraquat has been used in the agricultural and landscaping industries since the early 1960s and has exposed countless people to its toxic effects.
Additional names that Paraquat may be sold under include:
Paraquat is mostly available in liquid form in the United States but has been classified as “restricted” used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This means that agricultural workers, landscapers, and other individuals and companies must have a license to use this product as applicators.
Due to the highly poisonous nature of Paraquat, the version of this available in the United States herbicide has been made with a blue dye to ensure applicators do not confuse it with other products. It also has a distinct and severe odor to further warn individuals.
Paraquat is one of the most frequently used herbicides around the world and may be available in other forms without proper warning in other countries.
How Paraquat Causes Damage In The Body
The level of poisoning and damage done by Paraquat to a person’s body is dependent on the route, amount, and duration of the exposure to an individual. It also depends on the individual’s health status when they were exposed. For example, a person with an underlying health condition may experience more severe symptoms than someone who does not have an underlying condition.
If Paraquat is ingested or heavy exposure is present, this herbicide can significantly damage the lining of the intestines, stomach, and mouth. It is then distributed throughout the body and results in toxicity reactions that can negatively affect the liver, kidneys, and lungs. Many people who are exposed to Paraquat experience long-term health consequences that may include lung damage, heart failure, kidney failure, and Parkinson’s disease.
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Symptoms Of Paraquat Exposure
The most severe symptoms of exposure to Paraquat occur when this substance is directly ingested. In fact, many people due not survive Paraquat poisoning.
Those who do may experience the following symptoms almost immediately often ingestion:
- Swelling and pain in the mouth
- Stomach pain
- Low blood pressure
- Abnormalities with electrolyte balance in the body
Within a few days, people who have ingested smaller amounts of Paraquat may experience the following:
- Lung scarring
- Kidney failure
- Heart failure
- Liver failure
People who have ingested larger amounts of Paraquat may experience the following symptoms in the hours and days that follow the exposure:
- Heart injury
- Pulmonary edema
- Respiratory failure, or the inability to breathe
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle weakness
- Lung scarring
If a person’s survives the exposure or ingestion of Paraquat, there has been shown an increased risk of the development of Parkinson’s disease as well as other health consequences including esophageal strictures, heart failure, and kidney failure.
In addition to ingestion, individuals can experience Paraquat poisoning in other ways that include getting Paraquat on their skin, coming into contact with plants that have been sprayed with Paraquat, inhaling Paraquat, or applying Paraquat.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
The risk of Parkinson’s disease is one of the major reasons why lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of this toxic herbicide. Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that worsens over time and directly impacts a person’s ability to move.
The first symptom of Parkinson’s disease is typically a tremor in a hand as well as the slowing of bodily movement and body and muscle stiffness. Other early symptoms of Parkinson’s include the inability to express expressions on the face, soft or slurred speed, and decreased arm movement when walking. Some people do not notice any signs or symptoms of this disease until it has progressed to a more severe stage.
Common signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:
- Speech changes
- Trouble writing or changes in writing
- Bradykinesia, or slowed movement
- Balance issues
- Trouble maintaining posture
- Muscle rigidity
- Decreased ability of automatic movement
Complications of this disease may include:
- Trouble swallowing
- Emotional changes or depression
- Trouble thinking or cognitive impairment
- Trouble sleeping or the development of sleep disorders
- Eating and chewing issues
- Bladder problems
- Changes in blood pressure
- Trouble with sense of smell
- Sexual dysfunction
Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured. However, avoiding environmental triggers and exposure to toxins like Paraquat can help reduce a person’s chance of developing this health condition.
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Research Regarding Paraquat And Parkinson’s Disease
In recent years, there have been several research studies done in relation to the development of Parkinson’s disease as a result of exposure to Paraquat. One study performed by the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council found evidence that exposure to this herbicide can increase a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s by 200% to 600%.
Another study performed by Biomed Research International showed that Paraquat crosses the blood-brain barrier and directly impacts neurons in the body. Additionally, a study done by Costello et al. found that pesticides such as Paraquat located within 500 meters of a person’s home increased their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 75%.
Due to the immense amount of studies that have shown Paraquat exposure causes Parkinson’s disease, the EPA came to the conclusion that “there is insufficient evidence to link registered paraquat products to any of the health outcomes investigated, including Parkinson’s disease, when used according to the label.” Despite these findings and the EPA declaration, Paraquat is still available for use in the United States.
What To Know About Paraquat Lawsuits
People who have filed lawsuits against Paraquat have done so primarily due to the development of Parkinson’s disease after exposure. Other people have filed lawsuits due to additional health conditions including kidney failure and disease. The earliest Paraquat lawsuits were filed in 2016. Some of the lawsuits filed against the company are class-action lawsuits while others are individual cases.
Most individuals who have filed lawsuits have done so as a result of years of exposure to Paraquat. For example, farmworkers and agriculture workers are at an increased risk of the development of Parkinson’s and other negative health effects due to greater exposure to the herbicide Paraquat.
If you were exposed to Paraquat or lived near a location that regularly used Paraquat, you may be entitled to compensation for personal injuries. Contact Florin|Roebig to see how we can help.
How To Qualify For A Paraquat Lawsuit
There are a few key components that must be shown in order to qualify for a Paraquat lawsuit. These components include:
- Proof of Paraquat exposure: In order to qualify to participate in a Paraquat lawsuit, you must be able to prove the use of Paraquat or exposure to this herbicide. This can include proof of living near a facility that used Paraquat, proof of working for a company that used this herbicide, or proof of purchasing this substance.
- Parkinson’s disease following Paraquat exposure: Another qualification is proof of the development of Parkinson’s disease after exposure or ingestion of Paraquat. In most cases, providing proof of a Parkinson’s diagnosis following exposure or ingestion of this chemical is enough to show your diagnosis.
- Proof of the link between Paraquat exposure and a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis: You must also be able to prove that your exposure or ingestion of Paraquat contributed or led to the development of Parkinson’s disease. Proof of this can include medical records and proof of exposure or use of the herbicide.
If you’re unsure if your case qualifies for lawsuit or is strong enough to hold up in a federal court, consider hiring an experienced attorney to help you determine if you have enough proof to sue the manufacturers of Paraquat.
Class Action Lawsuits vs. Multidistrict Litigation
Navigating the legal world can be difficult for anyone who has not studied to become an attorney, or ever filed a lawsuit. If you’re filing a Paraquat lawsuit, you’ll want to understand which type of claim you’re filing and why.
In the case of Paraquat litigation, this means understanding the difference between class action lawsuits and multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Class action lawsuits occur when an entire group of people decides to file together against another party for a harmful prescription drug, medical device, or other product.
Multidistrict lawsuits are similar in form to class action lawsuits but differ in many ways. Multidistrict lawsuits are composed of many individuals filing singular lawsuits against a party or parties.
The main difference between these two types of suits is that a class action becomes a single lawsuit in which one person or a few select people act as the lead plaintiff and very little to no action is required from the rest of the plaintiffs. Settlements are divided among the plaintiffs, with settlement amounts determined on a number of individual factors.
Multidistrict lawsuits, on the other hand, remain individual lawsuits. When many individuals are suing the same party for similar reasons, these suits may be grouped together in order to not bog down the court.
This means one judge will oversee all the proceedings for these lawsuits, from the pretrial hearings to the settlement determinations, but the lawsuits will remain individual suits.
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Paraquat Lawsuit Compensation
If you or a loved one has developed Parkinson’s disease after exposure, use, or ingestion of Paraquat, you may be entitled to the following damages:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering, including physical and mental ailment
- Past and future lost wages or loss of the ability to work
- Punitive damages
- Compensation for loss of enjoyment in life
- Wrongful death damages
Hiring an experienced legal team to work on your behalf in a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Paraquat will give you the best possible chance of winning the settlement you need and deserve. The attorneys at Florin|Roebig have extensive experience handling lawsuits like this one and have the skills needed to build a solid case on your behalf. Contact our law offices today at (800) 226-6581 for a 100% confidential and free case evaluation to find out how we can help.