Paraquat Could Be the Next Big Mass Tort
Recent developments with the EPA regarding Paraquat have increased the attention to this dangerous and deadly herbicide. As a result, more individuals are coming forward alleging they sustained injuries or were diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease after exposure to Paraquat.
As more research links Paraquat to Parkinson’s and more people file lawsuits against the manufacturer of Paraquat, the odds that Paraquat will become the next big mass tort increases significantly.
What is Paraquat?
Paraquat dichloride is a toxic chemical used as an herbicide to control the growth of grass and weeds. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified the chemical for restricted use.
Growmark, Inc. and Chevron Chemical Company are two Paraquat manufacturers in the United States. Syngenta manufactures Gramoxone, which is the common trade name for Paraquat.
Only licensed applicators can use the product. Even then, they must take precautions to avoid accidental ingestion of the dangerous chemical. Manufacturers have added blue dye and a sharp odor to prevent accidental poisoning. They have also added a vomiting agent to cause immediate vomiting if a person drinks the herbicide.
There is no cure for Paraquat poisoning. Death can come quickly after ingestion or exposure.
Paraquat is used on more than 100 crops in the United States. Crops include soybeans, pears, corn, grapes, almonds, sweet potatoes, and peanuts. Paraquat can destroy weeds that glyphosate (Roundup) cannot kill. Roundup is subject to many lawsuits for its link to cancer.
The use of Paraquat has increased substantially over the past 25 years, even though it is highly toxic and is linked with an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease.
Paraquat Exposure and Parkinson’s Disease
In 2009, a study was released in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicating that exposure to Paraquat could result in an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease. The study found that individuals who lived within 500 meters of a farm that uses Paraquat could have a 75 percent higher risk of developing Parkinson’s.
Another study published by the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found that farmworkers exposed to Paraquat were diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at a rate of 2.5 times higher than the people who were not exposed to the weedkiller. Frighteningly, the researchers noted that the Paraquat exposure was not limited to agricultural environments or occupations.
Paraquat Lawsuits Pending in Several Courts
Currently, there are almost two dozen lawsuits alleging damages caused by Paraquat exposure. The lawsuits allege a variety of negligence and other claims. On April 7, 2021, a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits requested that the court consolidate and transfer Paraquat lawsuits to the Northern District of California.
In the request, the plaintiff alleges that the lawsuits involve common questions of law regarding Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease. The court has not ruled yet on the motion.
If the cases are combined into an MDL and transferred to the Northern District of California, the cases will remain individual actions. An MDL is not a class action lawsuit. Each case is heard and decided on its own merits.
However, the cases are consolidated for the pre-trial discovery phase. Combining the cases into an MDL can speed up the discovery process and make it more efficient for all parties.
Furthermore, initial trials of some of the cases can help parties develop strategies for negotiating settlements or proceeding to trial.
Signs and Symptoms of Paraquat Poisoning
If you have been exposed to Paraquat, seek immediate medical treatment. The symptoms of Paraquat poisoning include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Gastrointestinal distress, including diarrhea, bloody stool, and vomiting
- Elevated heart rate
- Pain and swelling in the mouth and throat
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
Exposure to Paraquat causes death.
If you believe your Parkinson’s diagnosis could be related to Paraquat exposure, talk with your doctor. You may also want to create a timeline from the date of first exposure to the date of your diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.
Exposure to Paraquat may also increase a person’s risk of developing multiple system atrophy, a progressive brain disorder that negatively impacts movement and balance. There is also an increased risk of developing progressive supranuclear palsy after being exposed to Paraquat.
Seek Help with a Paraquat Injury Claim
The long-term consequences of Paraquat exposure may include ongoing medical care. A person with Parkinson’s may eventually die from complications. The other long-term effects of exposure to Paraquat depend on the level of exposure and the duration of the exposure.
A Paraquat injury lawyer or product liability attorney can answer your questions about Paraquat claims. The initial lawsuits are in the early stages. However, that does not mean you are not under a deadline to file your claim.
Statutes of limitations set deadlines for filing injury cases. Do not wait too long to seek help with your case because you could run out of time to file a claim or lawsuit for Paraquat injuries.