What is Paraquat and why is it dangerous?

Paraquat is a toxic chemical often used as an herbicide for weed
and grass control. In the U.S., the chemical is available in liquid form in
various strengths. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies Paraquat as “restricted use,” which means that only people with licenses can purchase and apply it. Still, commercial agriculture workers face long-term exposure to Paraquat and face the risk of poisoning or developing long-term health conditions like Parkinson’s Disease.

Paraquat and Toxicity

Paraquat is very dangerous if accidentally ingested, inhaled, or if someone is exposed through the skin. If an individual somehow survives Paraquat poisoning, it can cause long-term health problems, including lung damage, kidney failure, heart failure, and esophageal strictures.

Paraquat and Parkinson's Disease

Researchers have linked long-term exposure to Paraquat to rising levels of Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive nervous system disorder affecting movement. Levels of Parkinson’s Disease are dramatically increasing among agricultural workers with the most exposure to Paraquat.

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative nervous system disorder characterized by tremors and movement problems. One recent study showed that with repeated exposure to Paraquat, the chemical killed dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. The death of dopamine-producing neurons in this area of the midbrain is associated with Parkinson’s Disease. In this study, research participants who have Parkinson’s Disease were 2.5 times more likely than controls to report using Paraquat in the past.

Paraquat and Its Manufacturers

Imperial Chemical Industries first marketed Paraquat commercially in the U.S. in 1961 the name Gramoxone. Gramoxone is still sold today by Syngenta, but Paraquat now has multiple manufacturers, including Drexel Chemical Company, Adama Group, and United Phosphorous, among others. Recent investigations have revealed that some manufacturers have known for decades of the toxic dangers of Paraquat. Now, Paraquat is one of the most popular herbicides in the U.S., thanks in part to growing weed resistance to glyphosate, marketed as Roundup.

Call the Madeksho Law Firm

If you or a loved one have Parkinson’s Disease that you may have been caused by repeated exposure to Paraquat, contact the Madeksho Law Firm at 1-888-910-6376 or through our online form. Your initial consultation is free, and you never pay a fee unless we recover compensation on your behalf.