For more than 60 years, farmers have used paraquat to control the overgrowth of weeds, vegetation, and grass in the U.S. and places around the globe. In Louisiana, the chemical herbicide is used on commercial farms for weed control and cotton or soybean farms for the desiccation of crops.
Some think paraquat is necessary to succeed at farming and agriculture, especially since weeds and other vegetation are becoming more and more resistant to other herbicides. However, scientists, environmentalists, and healthcare professionals from around the world have spoken out against it, stressing its link to severe health issues.
While about 30 countries have banned the use of paraquat, the U.S. continues to allow it to the detriment of farmworkers’ health (as well as to those who live near agricultural areas).
Ingesting even small amounts of paraquat can be deadly and can cause damage to the mouth, skin, stomach and other organs. It has been known to cause permanent scarring of the lungs, kidney failure, respiratory failure and liver failure.
Along with that, recent studies have shown that people who have inhaled paraquat over time have developed Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the nervous system that can lead to tremors, rigid muscles, and slow movement.
This occurs after the airborne paraquat droplets breathed in by the individual travel to the brain and cause damage to the dopamine receptors. Without adequate receptors and healthy dopamine production, the nerves that control muscle movement begin to break down and not work properly.
For their safety, Louisiana residents need to be aware of the dangers of paraquat. They need to take note of where it is found and what products include it as an ingredient.
Regulating, Manufacturing and Purchasing Paraquat in the U.S.
In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated that only trained and EPA-certified workers in commercial farming settings use paraquat. At that time, the government handed out new packaging and labeling requirements for manufacturers.
Paraquat manufacturers were to begin using a “closed-system’’ way of packaging to prevent exposure to people who may come in contact with it. Paraquat labeling also needed to emphasize the product’s severe toxicity to humans.
There are many manufacturers from around the world that market paraquat. They include the Adama Group, Altitude Crop Innovations, Chevron, Drexel Chemical Co., Growmark, Helm Agro, Innvictis Crop Care, Sinon USA Inc., Syngenta and United Phosphorus.
While the most common brand sold in the U.S. is Gramoxone, sold by Syngenta, there is also an assortment of other products containing paraquat as an active ingredient. They include:
- Bonfire Herbicide
Protecting the Public from Paraquat
Over the years, many studies have shown the hazards of paraquat use, including a landmark 2009 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that even a small amount of exposure to paraquat within 1,600 feet of a home resulted in a heightened Parkinson’s disease risk of a daunting 75 percent.
A 2020 study by Louisiana State University researchers found that in rural parts of Louisiana, several patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s had a strong chance of being exposed to certain types of herbicides and pesticides, including paraquat. The study stressed that areas where agricultural workers could be at the most significant risk, included predominantly pasture and timberland areas where paraquat may have been used. It included large parts of Evangeline and Allen Parishes, and in the lower middle of the state, from Beauregard to Iberville Parishes.
Paraquat Exposure Legal Options
Until the federal government takes more action to halt the use of dangerous herbicides like paraquat and further protect the public, individuals must stay aware of the issue, recognize areas where paraquat is being used and protect themselves.
If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering the toxic effects of paraquat, seek legal help immediately, and know you are not alone. Paraquat lawsuits are on the rise. Claimants include agricultural workers and people residing near commercial farms. They allege that paraquat manufacturers failed to provide proper packaging and warning labels. And, even worse, business owners concealed information while knowing the potential for paraquat exposure and harm.
Our experienced paraquat lawsuit attorneys will fight for your rights and demand fair compensation for all the suffering and negligence. For more information about paraquat legal options, schedule a free consultation now at 844-943-7626 or fill out our online contact form with your questions.