Pharmaceuticals

Paraquat Lawsuits

Paraquat LawsuitLK has previously reported on the link between paraquat, a highly toxic chemical herbicide, and Parkinson’s disease. Farmers, farm workers, herbicide applicators, chemical mixers, tank fillers and individuals living near farming communities are at the greatest risk of exposure to Paraquat. Several studies since 2009 have determined that contact or exposure to paraquat may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
 

What is Paraquat?

Paraquat is one of the most frequently used herbicides in the world. Brand name products containing paraquat include: Gramoxone, Paraquate Concentrate, Blanco, Cyclone SL 2.0, Firestorm, Helmquat 3SL, Bonedry, Devour and Para-Shot 3.0. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented use restrictions for paraquat due to its high levels of toxicity. It is approved only for application by commercially licensed applicators based on its designation by the EPA.
 

The History of Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease

Paraquat is a powerful and lethal herbicide that was first introduced in 1961. For more than a decade, paraquat has been linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative condition characterized by impaired motor function, autonomic dysfunction, and cognitive decline.

Due to its toxic properties, at least 32 countries have banned the herbicide. However, in the United States, paraquat use has increased to approximately 10 million pounds annually despite dozens of published reports and studies detailing the risks of paraquat exposure.

  • In 2009, the American Journal of Epidemiology found that exposure to paraquat within 500 meters of a home may lead to a 75 percent increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
  • In 2011, Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) published a report demonstrating the positive association between Parkinson’s disease and two groups of pesticides, including paraquat. EHP found that two mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s disease- mitochondrial function and oxidative stress- were induced in experimental models involving paraquat and rotenone. The research determined that paraquat was the most concerning insecticide among dozens of toxic chemicals. Oxidative stress has been identified as the primary trigger of nerve cell death in Parkinson’s disease.
  • In 2011, the Farming and Movement Evaluation Study (FAME), sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, revealed data that showed that individuals were two and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson’s after exposure to paraquat.
  • In 2012, the National Library of Medicine released a study entitled “Genetic modification of the association of paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.” The study found that the risk of Parkinson’s disease from exposure to paraquat is especially high in individuals with a certain genetic variation that is fairly common within the general population. Therefore, a large subpopulation with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease from oxidative stress could potentially be identified.
  • In 2016, the EPA announced it would require certain measures to reduce exposure and ingestion of paraquat by workers who handle the herbicide. This included label modifications, restricting use to certified pesticide applicators, specialized training for certified applicators, and new packaging to prevent spillage.
  • In 2017, a study in Nature Chemical Biology applied a gene editing technique to identify genes that trigger cell death and may lead to paraquat-induced Parkinson’s disease.
  • The United Parkinson’s Advocacy Council, led by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, issued a letter to express concern about the risk of paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. The organization requested that the EPA deny registration of paraquat based on studies linking the herbicide to adverse health conditions.
  • In 2019, the EPA conducted a human health risk assessment in which it identified the risks to workers who apply paraquat or enter fields treated with paraquat. The EPA reviewed over 70 articles that uncovered various health issues including Parkinson’s disease, lung diseases, and cancer, and determined that there is a link between paraquat and these health conditions.

Researchers have consistently recognized paraquat as the chemical with data supporting a link to an elevated risk of Parkinson’s disease. The EPA continues to conduct regulatory reviews of paraquat and in October 2020, proposed new measures to reduce the risks of paraquat use.
 

Paraquat Lawyers are Ready to Help

Contact our Paraquat Lawyers to review whether you or a family member may be entitled to financial compensation. Levy Konigsberg LLP is currently accepting Paraquat cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one has suffered one or more of these complications, you may be entitled to a cash award and compensation for medical expenses. For a free confidential consultation with Paraquat Lawyers at our law firm, please call 1-800-988-8005 or submit an email inquiry above.

For more information about the law firm's practice areas please contact Levy Konigsberg LLP at 1-212-605-6200 or 1-800-988-8005, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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