As our farming needs grow to meet our ever-increasing population, herbicides and pesticides have become stronger and more dangerous. One such herbicide: “Paraquat,” contains a contaminant called MPTP. The chemical contaminant has been studied extensively over the past decade and has been linked to Parkinson’s disease in humans and laboratory animals.
If you’ve been exposed to this substance and are experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, you may be eligible for a Paraquat lawsuit.
Why is Paraquat Still Being Used in the US?
Paraquat is a widely used herbicide that was introduced as an alternative to Roundup, due to concerns that Roundup was causing cancer. Additionally, Roundup was becoming less effective against weeds, as the weeds were beginning to develop resistance to the chemical.
Paraquat is strictly regulated by the EPA, and all those who are expected to have regular contact with the herbicide need to undergo an approved training class. It has been classified as a “Restricted Use Pesticide,” but there has been little push toward banning the substance entirely in the United States.
Even though many countries have banned or have begun the process of banning Paraquat use, the US has not followed suit.
Who is at Risk for Developing Parkinson’s Disease due to Paraquat Exposure?
Workers in the agricultural field, groundskeepers and others who live and work in close proximity to farms are most at risk. The chemical can enter our body systems through contact with our skin, by breathing in the fumes, or via ingestion.
However, these individuals are not the only ones at risk. Unsafe practices resulting in spraying too much of the herbicide in a given area (or overspray) have led to spread of the chemical far beyond its typical range. Additionally, “pesticide drift,” which is the process of the wind naturally carrying chemicals to further areas, has caused the harmful chemicals to spread far and wide through no fault of the applicator.
Is there a Clear Link Between Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease?
As far back as 2009, a study found that “exposure to paraquat within 1,600 feet of a residence increased the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 75%.”
The findings in this study were further strengthened by studies in 2011 and 2012, which determined further positive correlation between Parkinson’s Disease and Paraquat exposure.
Additionally, researchers have found that they can consistently induce PD in an experimental setting using lab animals.
Outside of PD, Paraquat exposure has also been linked with higher risk for birth defects and cancer. However, the link is not quite as clear between birth defects/cancer and Paraquat exposure.
I May have been Exposed and am Developing PD Symptoms, What Should I Do?
If you believe you are a victim of PD symptoms due to Paraquat exposure, it would be wise to contact a competent Paraquat lawyer. An attorney who is familiar with this type of case can help you navigate the territory and receive the most in compensation for medical fees to which you are entitled.