If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or experienced other adverse health effects as a result of your exposure to the herbicide paraquat (Gramoxone), you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer. Getting the full compensation you’re owed can be a challenge, especially when seeking to hold a large chemical manufacturer accountable. Fortunately, an experienced Paraquat injury attorney could help by taking aggressive action to recover what you’re rightfully owed.
Paraquat is a highly toxic herbicide that has been banned in numerous countries due to its dangerous properties, including in Switzerland, where the herbicide’s manufacturer is located. The chemical is highly poisonous if it is ingested or inhaled, and even skin exposure can lead to paraquat poisoning.
Over the past decade, there has also been growing concern about the link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. According to a study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), paraquat users are 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than non-users. Workers in the agricultural industry are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of this herbicide.
Do you believe you may have been injured by paraquat? Take our quiz below to see if you may qualify to join a paraquat mass tort lawsuit, or contact Mass Tort Alliance to learn more about how you can get the financial recovery you deserve.
Paraquat is a common herbicide that has been in use since 1961 and is currently approved for use in at least 90 countries worldwide. It is commonly referred to by its brand name, Gramoxone, and is manufactured by Syngenta, a Swiss agricultural chemical company.
It is commonly used to control grass and weed growth on a variety of crops, including soybeans, corn, apples, artichokes, garlic, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and cotton. It works by destroying plant cell membranes, drying them out and killing them within a few hours of application.
It is usually available in liquid form and is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “restricted use.” Since 1997, the use of paraquat as an herbicide requires a license in the United States and is restricted to large-scale industrial agriculture. It is commonly dyed with a blue color and given a strong odor to help differentiate it from beverages or other liquids.
Paraquat is highly toxic to plants and animals, especially in high concentrations and with prolonged exposure. In humans, it can cause severe damage to the soft lining of the mouth, esophagus, trachea, stomach, intestines, lungs, liver, or kidneys. Intake occurs either thru inhalation or ingestion (swallowing).
Prolonged exposure can severely damage the soft tissues of the bronchial passages and lungs, leading to a condition known as “paraquat lung,” and can also lead to pulmonary fibrosis or respiratory failure.
Perhaps the most hazardous aspect of using paraquat as an herbicide is that there is no known antidotal treatment. People with the most risk of developing health problems due to exposure to paraquat are agricultural and farming industry workers.
Most paraquat injuries and fatalities occur through accidental or intentional ingestion, or swallowing. Swallowing high concentrations of paraquat is dangerous and causes a fast reaction, usually in the gastrointestinal tract. Swelling of the mouth and esophagus, severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur within minutes.
Ingesting even a small amount of paraquat can lead to organ failure in a matter of days or weeks. If large amounts are ingested, and the victim survives the initial reaction, extreme damage and scarring to lung tissue are likely to occur. Severe side effects can also occur if paraquat comes into contact with open cuts or wounds on the skin or if paraquat splashes in the eyes.
The lethal dose of paraquat in humans is approximately one to two teaspoons in a 30 percent concentration. Paraquat may also cause the following conditions:
• Skin irritation
• Nail shedding
• Mouth ulcers
• Gastrointestinal bleeding
• Fast heart rate
• Difficulty breathing
• Respiratory failure
• Pulmonary edema
• Esophageal burns or scarring
• Heart failure
• Liver failure
• Kidney failure
• Ocular damage
Some studies over the past two decades have shown a possible link between prolonged paraquat exposure and increased occurrence of leukemia, melanoma, and cancers of the cervix, penis, and lungs, and some studies have shown an increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Furthermore, research shows that there’s a compelling link between the use of paraquat and the development of Parkinson’s disease. In addition to the 2011 NIH study, a recent study published in December of 2020 showed a connection between the inhalation of paraquat and an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Prolonged exposure to paraquat through inhalation can cause loss of sense of smell and may slow dopamine production in the brain, a key driver of the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Paraquat has been banned for use in China, the E.U., and Brazil, as well as dozens of other countries, though it is still widely used in the United States. In fact, the use of paraquat in the U.S. has increased substantially since 2009, primarily on plants that have developed a resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.
Between 1990 and 2014, at least 27 deaths and over 200 exposure incidents were recorded in the U.S. alone. Over 8 million pounds of paraquat are still used on crops in the United States every year. In July of 2019, Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY) introduced H.R.3817, which seeks to ban the use of paraquat in America altogether.
Persons or family of persons who have been exposed to paraquat and developed health problems like trouble breathing, organ damage, Parkinson’s disease, or other conditions may be able to pursue compensation for harm, suffering, or loss of life by filing a lawsuit.
The best way to receive compensation through a lawsuit is to hire a top-notch mass tort attorney who is highly experienced in dealing with paraquat cases. A mass tort lawsuit is a legal action taken by a group of people injured by the same defendant. In the case of a paraquat mass tort lawsuit, the plaintiffs will include the numerous people injured by paraquat while the defendant may be the manufacturer of paraquat.
A mass tort lawsuit differs from a class-action lawsuit in that, in a class-action suit, all of the plaintiffs are represented by one individual or group, called a “class representative,” and so all of the plaintiffs are treated as one plaintiff. In a mass tort lawsuit, all of the plaintiffs are still treated as individuals. The facts of their individual cases may be heard, and their settlements will be based on their specific circumstances.
A mass tort lawsuit enables the lawyers working on the case to share information and resources across the various plaintiffs’ cases in order to build the strongest case possible. At the same time, individual plaintiffs may have their unique concerns heard and choose to settle or not settle their own case.
If you or a family member have been exposed to paraquat and later developed health conditions, an attorney can help. An experienced attorney can take the time to properly research the case law concerning paraquat and agricultural chemical poisoning. They can also gather evidence more effectively, navigate the legal process with ease, contact and employ expert witnesses, and access more resources than you could on your own.
An attorney can handle all communications, and in most cases, hiring an attorney will get you a greater level of compensation. Many attorneys also operate on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning that they are only paid for their work if compensation is obtained through a successful lawsuit. Our paraquat attorneys can help you get the financial relief you need and the justice you deserve.
If you or a loved one has developed health problems due to paraquat exposure, you may find the answers to these frequently asked questions helpful:
The amount of compensation you could receive from a settlement depends on the extent of the injuries and losses you have experienced and the specific circumstances of your case. It’s impossible to predict the exact amount of any settlement. However, an attorney can review the details of your case and help determine the compensation you may be entitled to.
Having a good paraquat attorney will help ensure that you get the highest amount of compensation available for you or your family.
An attorney can help you determine if you qualify for a paraquat lawsuit. You would need to prove your exposure to paraquat, prove that you have ongoing or unresolved health issues that may be linked to paraquat, and show that these conditions have caused an adverse effect on you or your family’s overall health, well-being, or quality of life.
Many attorneys operate on a contingency fee plan, which means that they only receive payment if they are successful in securing compensation for you. Contact us today to see if hiring an attorney for your paraquat lawsuit is the right thing to do.
If you believe you or a family member have suffered health problems as a result of paraquat exposure, take this free quiz and see if you may qualify for a paraquat lawsuit. Get the compensation you deserve by letting an experienced attorney fight for you.