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What is Paraquat?

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Personal Injury

Paraquat is a highly toxic herbicide primarily used to control weeds and grasses in agricultural and non-agricultural settings. It was first produced for commercial use in 1961 and remains one of the most commonly used herbicides worldwide. It is commonly used in agricultural settings to control weeds in crops such as cotton and as a defoliant on crops before harvest. It is also used in non-agricultural settings for weed control. Despite its effectiveness as an herbicide when used properly, paraquat poses significant risks to human health and wildlife due to its acute toxicity. Accidental ingestion or exposure to paraquat can result in severe health effects, including death. Therefore, strict precautions and safety measures are essential when handling and using paraquat products. In the United States, paraquat is available only for use by commercially licensed users due to its extreme toxicity.

Recently, Paraquat has raised significant concerns regarding its adverse health effects and potential risks of exposure. Farmers and agricultural laborers, along with those residing near industrial farms, face heightened risks of paraquat exposure, amplifying concerns over its safety and regulatory oversight. Despite being banned in numerous countries worldwide, including the European Union and China, paraquat continues to be extensively used in the United States, with nearly 11 million pounds sprayed annually on crops. The alarming link between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease has brought forth mounting lawsuits against the creators of Paraquat.

Who Is At Risk?

Agricultural workers are among the most vulnerable to paraquat exposure due to their frequent handling and application of the herbicide in the course of their duties. This group includes farmers, landscapers, pest control professionals, and aircraft employees responsible for aerial application of pesticides on farms. These individuals routinely come into contact with paraquat during the spraying or application process, increasing their risk of exposure to dangerous levels of the herbicide. Despite adherence to safety protocols, such as wearing protective gear and following application guidelines, the potential for accidental exposure remains a significant concern. Over time, repeated exposure to paraquat may lead to the development of long-term health effects, including Parkinson disease.

Signs And Symptoms Of Exposure

Recognizing the signs of paraquat exposure is crucial for prompt intervention and medical treatment. Depending on the duration and intensity of exposure, individuals may exhibit symptoms of paraquat poisoning ranging from mild to severe. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), common signs of paraquat poisoning include:

  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • rapid heart rate;
  • abdominal pain;
  • bloody diarrhea; and
  • difficulty breathing.

However, since paraquat can be absorbed in small amounts with each exposure, symptoms may not manifest immediately, and individuals may remain unaware of the extent of their exposure until more serious conditions develop. Over time, paraquat exposure can lead to severe or life-threatening complications such as kidney failure, liver failure, lung scarring, and pulmonary edema. Additionally, emerging research has uncovered a significant correlation between paraquat exposure and the development of Parkinson’s disease, prompting legal action in numerous states across the United States.

Contact Our Team Today

If you suspect that you’ve been exposed to Paraquat and are experiencing neurological difficulties or have developed Parkinson’s disease as a result, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima for a free consultation to determine if you have a claim to pursue. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate this challenging situation and advocate for your rights.