If you were exposed to the herbicide Paraquat, and have since been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the Paraquat lawsuit attorneys at Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC are here to help. Our lawyers represent injured people nationwide and are ready to speak on your behalf. Schedule a free consultation for more information and the legal guidance you are looking for.
Why Choose Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC for Your Paraquat Lawsuit?
- We help injured victims throughout the United States by providing the best possible legal representation to those who need it most.
- With over two decades of experience, our Paraquat lawyers have helped thousands of people receive the compensation they need and deserve.
- With our resources and experience, we make sure that we hold the person or corporation responsible, accountable for any wrongdoing.
What Is Paraquat?
Paraquat is a toxic chemical that is used to kill weeds. Due to its harmful effects, it is banned in 32 countries around the world, but not in the United States. Paraquat is used all over the U.S. but it is especially common in California, one of the breadbaskets of the world.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Paraquat is a restricted use chemical – meaning that commercially licensed users are the only entities that can purchase it. As weeds have grown more resistant to other industrial herbicides, commercial farmers and other entities have increased their usage of Paraquat over the last 20 years.
Paraquat typically comes in a liquid form and is bright blue in color. There are a number of products that contain Paraquat, including the following:
- Paraquat Concentrate
- Para-Shot 3.0
Is Paraquat Safe?
While it may be an effective weedkiller, Paraquat is an extremely toxic chemical and is very dangerous. According to the American Council on Science and Health, a lethal dose can be as little as 2.5 grams. Although ingesting Paraquat is highly dangerous, this herbicide can be even more toxic if it is inhaled.
According to the EPA, just one sip of this herbicide can kill you – and Paraquat exposure has caused many deaths and contributed to adverse health effects over the past few decades. Recent research also suggests that Paraquat may cause Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating condition that has a major impact on a person’s quality of life.
What Is Paraquat Used For?
Paraquat is mainly used as an industrial strength herbicide for plants that have developed a resistance to other herbicide products. It helps prevent the growth of unwanted weeds and grasses near crops on a variety of properties, including plantations, orchards, and commercial farms of all sizes. Since Paraquat is a restricted chemical, homeowners and other recreational users cannot purchase it.
In the past, this chemical has also been used by law enforcement agencies to target illegal drugs. During the 1970s and 1980s, for example, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency used Paraquat in aerial attacks on marijuana and heroin poppy fields. Since this chemical is a non-selective herbicide, it will kill any plants it comes into contact with – making Paraquat a popular choice for these applications.
Who Is at Risk of Paraquat Exposure?
Any person who comes into contact with Paraquat is at risk of poisoning and the adverse effects that accompany repeated exposure. Usually, farmers and farm hands are the most vulnerable to Paraquat exposure. Other individuals who may be at risk of Paraquat toxicity include the following:
- Employees who sell Paraquat as part of their job
- Employees in Paraquat manufacturing plants
- Individuals who mix Paraquat products
- Certified Paraquat applicators
- Individuals who hold restricted use permits for Paraquat
- Individuals who live near farms that use Paraquat
If you believe that you have been exposed to Paraquat, the Paraquat lawsuit attorneys at Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC can help. We will help you identify the source of the exposure and represent you in your claim against Paraquat’s manufacturers.
What Does Paraquat Do to Humans?
Paraquat exposure can be highly dangerous to humans. According to a letter from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to the EPA, studies show that people exposed to Paraquat while they were teens or young adults were between 200 and 600 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The Agricultural Health Study by the National Institutes of Health found that farmers had a significantly higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease due to Paraquat exposure.
In addition to Parkinson’s disease, Paraquat exposure can be fatal and results in death as much as 70 percent of the time. Fatal exposure can occur after ingestion, inhalation, and other forms of direct contact. Even exposure to Paraquat droplets can be dangerous, leading to a permanent disruption of the nervous system.
These effects occur because of the oxidative stress that Paraquat induces. When Paraquat comes into contact with a plant or other living organism, it breaks oxygen atoms from the molecules within the organism’s cells. When humans undergo oxidative stress, the effects can be extremely damaging and irreversible, often leading to death.
How Does Paraquat Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease?
Paraquat causes damage to the neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Loss of dopamine causes symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including the impairment in fine motor skills.
Any low-level exposure to Paraquat can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease – whether that is through swallowing Paraquat, or simply living in proximity to where the herbicide is being sprayed. In 2018, the University of Guelph conducted a study based on human cells. It revealed that exposure to Paraquat, as well as the fungicide Maneb, increased risk of Parkinson’s disease by 250 percent.
What Are Early Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease progress over time and during the four stages of the illness. They can vary from person to person, but fall in two categories: motor symptoms, which affect a person’s movements – causing stiffness and slowness, and non-motor symptoms, which affect other areas of the body, including sleep and moods.
In the early stages of the illness, a non-motor symptom is likely to show up first, followed by a subtle motor symptom.
In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, common non-motor symptoms may include:
- Loss of smell
- Sleep disorders
- Depression and anxiety
- Fatigue, dizziness or fainting
Common motor symptoms may include:
- A tremor or slight shaking in one hand or another area
- Much smaller handwriting than before (Micrographia)
- Fascial masking, or the loss of facial expressions
- Stiffness while walking
- Difficulty standing up straight
If you experience or notice more than one of the following signs in yourself or in someone you love, schedule an appointment with a neurologist as soon as possible and then speak with a Paraquat lawyer to learn whether or not you have a valid case.
Stages of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a condition that contributes to the progressive breakdown on the nervous system. Symptoms often begin gradually and worsen over time. As of 2021, there is no cure for this condition.
There are five main stages of Parkinson’s disease:
- Stage One: This is the mildest stage of Parkinson’s disease. Patients may experience tremors, changes in posture, slight walking difficulties, and changes in facial expressions. Often, these symptoms only affect one side of the body and do not interfere with daily life.
- Stage Two: Symptoms worsen and progress during this stage. Patients may experience tremors, rigidity, and other conditions that affect both sides of the body, as well as posture and walking difficulties. Stage two Parkinson’s disease interferes with daily life, and patients may notice that it takes more time and effort to complete their tasks.
- Stage Three: During mid-stage Parkinson’s disease, also known as stage three, patients will see worsening symptoms such as the loss of balance and slow movements. They may be more likely to fall during this stage. Although the patient may be able to complete tasks on their own, he or she may face significant difficulties while performing activities such as eating.
- Stage Four: At this stage of Parkinson’s disease, the symptoms become very severe, and the patient is limited during his or her daily activities. Patients may require mobility equipment such as a walker, and often need a live-in caregiver to help perform their tasks.
- Stage Five: This is the most severe and advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease. Patients may experience intense stiffness in the legs, making it impossible to walk or move without a wheelchair. Permanent, live-in care is often necessary at this stage, and the patient may develop psychological symptoms such as hallucinations.
EPA Regulatory Filing on Paraquat
In 2016, the EPA issued a regulatory filing on Paraquat and its potential health risks. The agency expressed its intention to examine the link between Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease, as part of a program that reevaluates herbicides every 15 years.
In 2020, the EPA announced new safety measures for Paraquat as part of its investigation into the herbicide. These proposed regulations include the following:
- Banning aerial application for Paraquat, except for cotton desiccation
- Banning applicators from using backpack sprays or pressurized handguns to administer Paraquat
- Limiting the maximum application rate for alfalfa plants to one pound of active Paraquat per acre
- Requiring enclosed cabs if the treated area is larger than 80 acres over a 24-hour period
While these measures could help prevent future Paraquat poisonings and fatalities, many people continue to suffer from the impact of this dangerous chemical. If you are the victim of Paraquat exposure, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the herbicide. Consult with a qualified Paraquat lawsuit attorney to learn more.
What Is a Paraquat Settlement?
The effects of Paraquat poisoning can be devastating and wide ranging. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the exposure, you may experience debilitating physical symptoms, develop a permanent disability, and experience psychological trauma as a result of your condition. In these situations, you may incur thousands of dollars’ worth of medical expenses, lose weeks or even months of wages, or be unable to return to work at all.
In these situations, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the Paraquat product that you were exposed to. During the course of your case, you and your Paraquat lawyer may negotiate with the manufacturer and its legal counsel to reach a settlement agreement. This settlement will be a fair financial offer to compensate you for the losses you sustained due to the Paraquat exposure, also known as damages.
Paraquat settlements vary depending on the severity of your injury and the circumstances surrounding your case. If you and the manufacturer are unable to reach a settlement, your case will proceed to trial and the court will determine whether or not you are eligible for damages. The court will also decide how much compensation you should receive.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Paraquat Lawsuits?
If you believe that you are the victim of Paraquat exposure, it is important to act quickly and contact a Paraquat lawsuit attorney as soon as possible. All product liability lawsuits in the United States are subject to a statute of limitations, or a deadline for filing a claim. If you do not file your Paraquat lawsuit within the applicable time period, the court will dismiss your case – preventing you from recovering any compensation.
The statute of limitations depends on where you live. For example, if you live in California, you have two years from the date of the Parkinson’s disease diagnosis to file your lawsuit. If you live in North Carolina, you have three years to file. Missouri residents have five years to file a claim, while Louisiana residents only have one year. To identify your filing deadline, speak to a Paraquat attorney at Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC as soon as possible.
Contact a Paraquat Lawyer if You Were Diagnosed With Parkinson’s Disease
If you have been exposed to Paraquat anywhere in the United States, contact one of our Paraquat lawsuit attorneys at Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC. By filing a lawsuit, we can’t reverse your diagnosis, but we can help you recover proper financial compensation to improve your quality of life in the future. We can hold the manufacturers of the toxic chemical accountable.
Call (800) 220-0984 or fill out this form online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Paraquat lawyers.