What is Paraquat? 

Paraquat was first produced for commercial purposes in 1961. It is a toxic chemical that is widely used as an herbicide (plant killer), primarily for weed and grass control. However, The US Environmental Protection Agency classifies paraquat as “restricted use.” This means that it can be used only by people who are licensed applicators because Paraquat is highly toxic and dangerous. If exposed to it, it can cause a substantial risk of Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat causes direct damage when it comes into contact with the lining of the mouth, stomach, or intestines. After paraquat enters the body, it is distributed to all areas of the body. Paraquat causes toxic chemical reactions to occur throughout many parts of the body, primarily the lungs, liver, and kidneys. Even though it has been proven to be dangerous it is still a highly popular weed killer in America. Paraquat is now banned in 32 countries due to its toxicity, including European Union states where the substance is manufactured and exported – especially in the UK, China, and Brazil. 

 What should I do if Exposed to Paraquat? 

If you have been exposed to Paraquat, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you think it may have touched your clothing or body, immediately remove your clothing. Do not pull clothing overhead, instead cut off the clothing that has been exposed. Then wash your clothing and body with soap and water. Dispose of the clothes in a plastic bag and avoid touching the affected areas. Use gloves when handling clothing to ensure your safety and seal the bag and put it in another bag to ensure the safety of others.  Do not get rid of the clothes yourself, instead call your local state’s health department. They will dispose of the clothing for you. In the Hospital, you may need to be treated with Nasogastric suction if you have been exposed within an hour. Medications to help with breathing and to raise low blood pressure may also be provided. Hospital attention can help but unfortunately there is no cure for Paraquat poisoning.   

 What can Paraquat exposure cause? 

Long- and short-term exposure to Paraquat in job fields including but not limited to farm workers (and their families), chemical workers, research worker, and/or landscapers has been found to cause Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a complex syndrome that can cause various degrees of motor deficits, rigidity, tremors, and postural disturbance along with other neurological issues, which can continue to grow worse as the disease progresses. This disease has no cure and requires treatment for the rest of the person’s life. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences stated that experimental evidence from both animal and human studies suggests that exposure to certain types of pesticides, like paraquat, can increase a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.  

 Have lawsuits been filed? 

Paraquat exposure has allegedly caused some people to develop Parkinson’s disease. Many people recently started filing lawsuits against companies like Growmark, Chevron, Phillips Chemical, Syngenta AG and Syngenta Crop Protection. In these lawsuits people claim the company did not warn them of the harmful things in these products. Companies are required to warn buyers under the law. If this happened to you then consider filing a product liability lawsuit.

How can we help? 

If you or a loved one has been affected by the deadly herbicide Paraquat, it is important to contact an attorney to discuss your options. The Law Offices of Rudolph F.X. Migliore, P.C., is currently accepting cases related to Paraquat exposure. For more information, please do not hesitate to call our office at (631) 543-3663 for a FREE legal consultation.