Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s Disease?
Paraquat is a hazardous ingredient in popular commercial herbicides that can negatively affect your health and might even lead to some forms of cancer, as well as Parkinson’s disease. If you or someone you love used paraquat-containing herbicides in the workplace, a mass tort attorney can help you build a case for damages. Scientific studies claim to prove paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease, which a legal team can use to support your lawsuit.
Attorneys have been working on a mass tort lawsuit to help many individuals whose health has been compromised by paraquat exposure. These law firms can review your case at no cost, read and review your medical records, and evaluate paraquat’s connection to your negative diagnosis. During this free consultation, you can also learn more about the product manufacturer’s responsibility to warn you about the product and to compensate you for not doing so.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease? What Are Its Symptoms?
According to Mayo Clinic research, Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder characterized by tremors. While tremors are readily apparent and commonly associated with Parkinson’s, they can also cause stiffness and slowness. Because it affects your nerves, it can inhibit your cognitive abilities and lead to sleep disorders, depression, loss of bladder control, and difficulty eating and chewing.
The onset of the disease can be gradual at first, with only minor symptoms. However, you should seek immediate medical attention if you were directly or indirectly exposed to paraquat and notice any of the following warning signs and symptoms:
- Uncontrolled shaking and trembling
- Difficulty moving or slowed movements
- Painfully stiff muscles that limit mobility
- Slurred, hesitant, monotonous speech
- Unmanageable changes in handwriting
You may also lose the ability to make instinctive movements, including blinking and smiling. Do not wait for symptoms to worsen before talking to your doctor, as a prompt diagnosis can lead to a beneficial treatment plan.
Is There a Cure for Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is chronic and incurable. Its symptoms, however, can be treated and managed to improve your quality of life after being diagnosed. For example, speech therapists can help mitigate the disease’s impact on your speech. Similarly, physical therapy can help with balance and mobility issues.
Your health care professional can also prescribe medications to help alleviate symptoms. They include medications that:
- Your brain can turn into dopamine
- Treat persistent nausea
- Mimic dopamine’s effects
- Prevent dopamine loss
Because symptoms can worsen over time and medications can become less effective, your doctor may change or alter prescriptions over time. They might also recommend specialized surgery to provide deep brain stimulation.
Acceptance, coping, and family support will play an important role in how your lifestyle is affected after you develop Parkinson’s disease. The goal of your treatment plan is to manage Parkinson’s symptoms since the disease has no known cure.
How Do We Know That Paraquat Can Increase the Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease?
A report published in the European Journal of Epidemiology cites the connection between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, researchers found an increased risk of Parkinson’s in individuals when combined with pesticides ziram and maneb. In some cases, the study noted an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s by as much as 80 percent.
The risk appears to decrease with casual or ambient exposure, such as incidental residential applications. Meanwhile, it appears to increase with routine exposure, such as workplace use. Individuals who are exposed in both ways exhibit the highest risk.
If you or someone you love was routinely exposed to paraquat at work, such as in farming and agricultural applications, an attorney will help you fight for compensation. Your legal team can review your medical records and consult with medical and other expert witnesses and consultants to establish a link between use and diagnosis.
How Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s Disease?
You can be exposed to paraquat in more ways than one. Exposure to paraquat and the resulting damage to your health depends on the type and amount of exposure you were subjected to.
According to research and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the substance can be particularly dangerous when it comes into contact with your mouth, stomach, or intestines. Once it is inside your body, paraquat gets disbursed to your:
Lung cells, in particular, can build up a dangerous accumulation of the herbicide paraquat, potentially leading to pulmonary fibrosis.
Once present in the body, paraquat begins killing off cells. For example, paraquat exposure can cause a breakdown in the body’s dopaminergic neurons, which are connected to the development of Parkinson’s disease.
Is This the Only Herbicide to Be Linked to Adverse Human Health Effects?
- Paraquat is not the only herbicide or pesticide that poses a risk to human health. Other products that destroy weeds can also contain dangerous ingredients. In their 2020 publication, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a Recommended Classification of Pesticides by Hazard, which also rates the following as containing “extremely hazardous” toxins: Aldicarb
- Calcium cyanide
- Mercuric chloride
WHO research asserts that these herbicides pose an extreme risk to human health. In addition, there are many other herbicides the organization cites as posing a high, moderate, or slight human health risk. The same report also provides a risk of products whose use will not threaten users’ health.
Who Is Most At Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease After Coming Into Contact With Paraquat?
Citing a correlation between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council officials advocated for a ban on the use of products containing the dangerous chemical. Systemic administration of dangerous products has been restricted, with EPA regulators closely guarding and regulating its use.
Due to its widespread and prolonged use in home and commercial applications, many people are at risk of contamination or exposure. Unfortunately, some users are more prone to dangerous exposure than others. These include:
- People who have a family history of Parkinson’s disease
- People with frequent exposure to products containing paraquat
In addition, people who live in areas where paraquat is routinely sprayed into the air are at an increased risk. This can include farmers and farmworkers, groundskeepers and landscapers, and recreational and commercial gardeners. If you or a loved one falls into any of these categories and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or suffered other health consequences, you could be eligible for compensation.
What’s the Difference Between Primary and Secondary Exposure?
Primary exposure to paraquat happens through direct application. Secondary exposure happens through contact with environmental factors, such as contaminated air, water, soil, or other substances. While both levels of exposure to paraquat can potentially jeopardize your health, each should be clearly understood as follows:
- Primary exposure can include ingestion, which can prove fatal, direct contact with skin and hands, and routine inhalation that might be common in many agriculture-based workplaces.
- Secondary exposure can include skin exposure which can be particularly dangerous if you have cuts, scrapes, rashes, or otherwise compromised skin. Prolonged exposure to the skin is also particularly dangerous.
People are holding the makers of paraquat responsible for the increased risk of Parkinson’s following any degree of exposure. Product liability attorneys are preparing to fight for compensation for thousands of injured plaintiffs.
What Other Health Risks Have Been Linked to Paraquat Use?
The use of paraquat-containing products has been linked to Parkinson’s disease in many individuals, which has sparked many paraquat lawsuits. Individual, mass tort, and class action lawsuits allege a link between the product and disease. In addition, CDC research notes additional health risks, including:
- Liver failure
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Lung scarring
- Mental confusion
- Muscle weakness
- Respiratory distress
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
If you or someone you love used or came into contact with paraquat, watch out for any unusual or distressing symptoms. Consult your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
- Painful, swollen mouth and throat
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Difficulty eating and swallowing
You can review the manner of paraquat exposure with a lawyer to determine your next steps. The lawyer who represents you can help establish a connection to your or your loved one’s damaged health and paraquat. Your lawyer will also explain the legal and financial remedies you have available.
How Does Paraquat Use Impact Surrounding Communities and Even the Rest Of the Country?
For decades, paraquat has been used to control weeds and grass in agricultural and industrial use. Its widespread use could mean many people and communities-especially farming communities-have been exposed to it. In addition, many food products are treated with the toxic chemical, including:
These products are then sold by and can expose vulnerable consumers and communities to paraquat. CDC research cites these additional methods of pesticide exposure:
- Ingestion by swallowing
- Food, water, and other beverages
- Prolonged contact with skin
- Breathing and inhalation
After exposure to paraquat, the toxin is easily spread throughout the body. Accordingly, governmental regulations require paraquat to be treated with blue dye. The dye makes it easy to identify the toxin even if it is mistakenly mixed with other products and substances. Its use is also prohibited unless applied by specially trained application professionals.
Is There Any Safe Way to Use Paraquat?
Since the most toxic method of exposure to paraquat is swallowing, preventing this from happening is key to safe use. Because any amount of paraquat is dangerous when swallowed-even a minute amount-tamper-proof product packaging can help safeguard against it.
The safest way to use products containing it is by certified application technicians. EPA guidelines restrict its use to these professionals, even banning even their assistants and other non-licensed agricultural workers from using it. In addition, safety precautions to take before use of paraquat-containing herbicides and pesticides can include:
- Covering the skin and hands during use
- Removing protective clothing after use
- Not pulling contaminated clothing over the head
- Quickly and thoroughly washing exposed skin
- Wearing eye protection and avoiding contacts
Contaminated clothing should also be disposed of immediately in sealed double bags. Paraquat users are cautioned to dispose of other items that come into contact with contaminated clothing, as well.
Why Hasn’t the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Banned the Use of Paraquat?
Though they caution against its use, citing one sip as potentially fatal, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not banned the use of paraquat in the United States. They have, however, prohibited its use in home applications and restricted its use to trained professionals.
To better regulate paraquat use and protect the public from environmental exposures, EPA officials put the following mandates and product use restrictions in place:
- Use by specially trained personnel
- Increased security packaging
- No transfer to non-original containers
- Secured storage and limited access
- Strict labeling and usage instructions
- Mandated use of protective equipment
To further protect users, any product containing paraquat cannot be used in certain areas, including schools, parks, and playgrounds. New package designs also prevent product tampering and prevent the product from being transferred to unlabeled containers.
Get a Free Review of Your Case Today
If you or someone you love was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after exposure to an herbicide containing paraquat, the attorneys filing paraquat lawsuits can help you explore your legal options. Law firms handling these cases offer a complimentary consultation to all prospective clients and offer representation on a no-win, no-fee basis, so there is no financial risk to seeking help.
Your free case review will help you understand your right to join a mass tort case against the manufacturer. Fill out the contact form to get started.