When you loved one has had Parkinson’s for a decade, and it is painful to watch them struggle every day. You recently learned that the suffering is due to exposure to the deadly herbicide paraquat. Whether the came in direct contact or consumed paraquat-treated products – you have the right to file for a paraquat lawsuit.
In early 2016, the first lawsuit filing took place in the USA when people started developing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease after the exposure. The toxic affects not only the nerves but also the kidneys and liver. Some of the cases are against a particular company, but some are against an individual. Let’s know about this poisonous chemical to get a deeper understanding of the lawsuit.
What is paraquat?
Paraquat (paraquat dichloride) is a weed-killing chemical (herbicide). It has shown many toxic properties and leads to major human diseases. The primary purpose of this herbicide is to kill weeds, grass, and vegetation in commercial agricultural farms.
The harmful chemical is in use since the 1960s in all the commercial and private farming and landscaping industries. However, several studies have proven this weedkiller as highly toxic leaving countless people sick for life.
The paraquat is a highly poisonous chemical with a pungent smell. The manufacturers mix it with blue dye for distinction. It helps the buyers and applicators not confuse it with any other products. It also emits a strong smell which is any distinct quality for identification. However, it is scary that many countries use this herbicide without any proper guidance and warnings.
Other names of this deadly weed killer are Blanco, Firestorm, Devour, Helmquat, Parazone, and Quick-Quat.
What are the restrictions on toxins?
Although there is a major restriction on the usage of this herbicide by the US Environmental Protection Agency, it is still available in liquid form and use by the agricultural industries. The farmers and agriculturists must have the license and permission to use this weed destroyer in pre-specific quantity.
The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2020 states that paraquat affects the human body’s major organs. Heart failure, kidney issues, and liver damages are few to mention. The Protect Against Paraquat Act of 2019 initiated the EPA to cancel the registration issue for all types of paraquat uses. It means a ban on the use of paraquat on food items, sale of this herbicide, and complete prohibition on any paraquat stocking.
What are the further reviews of EPA?
The EPA carries a review of all the pesticides every five years. It helps in making a more comprehensive decision whether the chemical must continue or not. However, it is surprising that after evaluating over 70 articles on paraquat, the EPA said, “there is inadequate proof in link to the registered herbicide product. Any exposure to this chemical is not associated with Parkinson’s disease when used with proper care, as per the label.”
By October 2020, the EPA released an interim review stating the approval of paraquat use with new safety measures that have lesser damage to humans and the environment.
What are the proposed safety regulations on toxic herbicides?
Many human rights and protection acts are struggling to put a complete ban on the use of this toxin. Several proposals and restrictions are in pending state. Here are the future safety regulations:
- Ban on aerial application of paraquat dichloride (except cotton desiccation).
- Ban on use of pressure handguns and backpack sprayers.
- Addition of label language for compulsory spray drifts management.
- Limited spray or usage on the application rate for Alfalfa.
- Restrict human entry to the affected area for up to 48 hours.
- Use of drift buffer for residential area sprays.
- Seven-day restriction on entry to all uses for cotton desiccation.
- Mandatory use of PF10 respirators and closed cabs for treated areas in 24hours.
What are the signs and symptoms of toxic herbicide exposure?
There are minor to major symptoms associated with paraquat exposure. Direct ingestion of this toxic liquid or partial consumption leads to irreversible adverse effects.
Immediate effects after consumption –
- Swelling and rash with pain in the mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Diarrhea and dehydration
- Drop-in blood pressure
- Imbalance in the electrolyte in the body
But if your intake is less in quantity and you are a very healthy person, then the symptoms show slowly:
- Lung scarring
- Kidney damage
- Heart failure
- Liver damage
However, when someone consumes a vast quantity of toxic herbicide, then the symptoms appear in few hours only:
- Heart damage
- Pulmonary edema
- Breathlessness and respiratory failure
- Increased heart rates
- Mental confusion
- Major lung scarring
- Muscular spasms and weakness
The consumption of paraquat is fatal and leads to immediate death but, if anyone survives the exposure or ingestion, then the chances of getting Parkinson’s disease are very high. Some of the other health damages are esophageal strictures, cardiac diseases, and kidney failures.
Skin rashes are other common health hazards on exposure to poisonous herbicides. It happens when someone touches the liquid without proper safety gear or inhales it through plants or while spraying.
What are Parkinson’s disease and its symptoms?
The innumerable cases of Parkinson’s disease led to paraquat litigations on the rise. It is a nervous disorder that gradually increases and makes any person disabled. The foremost symptoms of this nerve disorder are tremors in a hand that slowly move to other parts of the body. The muscles become stiff and directly impact the movements of body parts. Here are the major symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- Speech changes
- Trouble in fingers that result in writing difficulty
- Tremors and shakes in body parts
- Bradykinesia (slow body movement)
- Balance issues
- Difficulty in maintaining posture
- Muscle rigidity
- Difficulty in fine motor skills
Major complications when the disease spreads:
- Trouble in swallowing
- Emotional distress
- Sleep apnea
- Eating and chewing problems
- Bladder control issues
- Fluctuating blood pressure
- The trouble with smell and taste
- Severe muscular pain
- Sexual dysfunction
What is the connection between Paraquat and Parkinson’s?
Several properties make paraquat dichloride a toxic chemical for plants and animals. The toxin kills the neurons of the body that produce dopamine in the brain and has similar effects on the human body.
The herbicide releases oxidative stress that eats away the dopamine-producing neurons in the human brain. Various studies are ongoing to prove this. BioMed Research International published a paper in 2020 stating that paraquat enters the blood barriers in the body and damages the neurons.
Several experiments on the connection between this herbicide to the disease are going on. Recently, Neurology India stated that pesticides (paraquat) and benomyl results in diseases like Parkinson’s.
Who can file the lawsuit against paraquat herbicide?
Anyone exposed to this weed killer (directly or indirectly) who develops significant nerve damage qualifies for a court trial. You can file a case and claim compensation for the physical and emotional loss. Since some of the symptoms overlap with another disease, it is difficult to ascertain the right cause. Therefore, you may have to show evidence before filing lawsuits.
- Agricultural workers – farmers, vegetation growers, pickers, landscape workers, licensed paraquat applicators, and other farm helpers.
- Local people living in the vicinity of paraquat sprayed farmland.
- Workers and contractors working in the commercial weed killer industries and pesticide factories.
What are states where paraquat usage is high as an herbicide?
The toxic weed killer is in use globally. But, in the USA, there are few states where it is in usein large quantities with limited restrictions.
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
What are some of the examples of paraquat litigations?
Most people who went for filing lawsuits against the use of paraquat were unaware of the risks of diseases. Many of the claims are against the manufacturer’s design defects, labels’ negligence, failure to release warnings, willful and wanton conduct.
- In February 2021, James Hemker and his wife Judith filed a lawsuit against Syngenta and Chevron. Hemker was unaware of the deadly effects of the toxin. His lawsuit claims he was a prolonged user of paraquat that resulted in Parkinson’s disease.
- Micheal Joseph Kearns and his wife Jean Rea also filed a trial against Syngenta, Chevron, and Growmark in December 2020. They lived near the farms where this herbicide was in use for several years. He claims to be unaware of the adverse effects and risk of developing Parkinson’s.
What can you claim as compensation?
If you or your family member develops Parkinson’s disease due to exposure to paraquat, then you have eligibility to claim the following:
- Current and future medical expenses related to the diseases
- Physical and emotional damage claims
- Punitive damages
- Uneventful deaths due to exposure
- Compensation for loss of regular life
However, several lawsuits are against this dreadful toxin but, the struggle is on to put an absolute ban on the usage. You do not have to get intimidated by the big companies who produce this poison. Just speak to the personal injury lawyers to file a case against the culprits and get justice before it’s too late.
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