Agricultural Workers Nationwide File Claims As Studies Link the Popular Herbicide Paraquat to Parkinson’s disease

Updated May 6, 2021.

Agricultural workers who were exposed to the herbicide paraquat and have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease may have a claim for financial compensation.

Paraquat is a fast-acting, non-selective contact weed killer. One of the most popular herbicides containing paraquat in the United States is Gramoxone SL 2.0 Herbicide, manufactured by Syngenta.  Other manufacturers named in lawsuits so far include Growmark, and Chevron U.S.A, Inc.  Other popular paraquat herbicide products include:

  • Ortho-paraquat
  • Quick-Quat
  • Devour
  • Blanco
  • Para-SHOT
  • Helmquat
  • Parazone
  • Firestorm

Many countries around the world have banned the use of paraquat.  According to The New York Times, the weed killer is so toxic that ingesting a single sip can be deadly.  Shockingly, paraquat use in the US is both legal and on the rise, doubling between 2006 and 2016 according to National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project reports.  The American Journal of EpidemiologyJAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Neurology, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences  have all published research pointing to a link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.  Although the role of agricultural chemicals and their association with Parkinson’s disease continues to be studied, epidemiological studies have concluded that a potential relationship exists between exposure to paraquat and Parkinson’s. Researchers continue to investigate the possible adverse health effects of paraquat on individuals who have been exposed to paraquat.

The Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council has made a request that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ban the use of the herbicide in the U.S.  As of April 2021, the agency has not honored the request.

The first lawsuits against paraquat manufacturers pertaining to the Parkinson’s disease risk were filed in October 2017 in Illinois.  Since then, agriculture workers across the country have started lawsuits seeking to hold the manufacturers of the herbicide accountable.  Requests have been made to the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate the pending actions.  Proponents suggest that consolidation is appropriate given the fact that all plaintiffs will have been exposed to the same toxin and will be suffering from the same disease.  The lawsuits are currently spread across six federal district courts and will present common questions of fact.

On the eve of a decision regarding the request to consolidate, six new claims were filed.   The latest claims were filed in federal courts in Pennsylvania, California and Illinois.  Plaintiffs allege that manufacturers were aware of the dangers of paraquat for 40 years but failed to warn users and concealed evidence that linked the product to Parkinson’s disease.

To date, there are more than 60 cases involving paraquat spread out over 12 federal districts. Manufacturers deny that paraquat has any role in causing Parkinson’s disease.

Makers of herbicides and other chemicals have a duty to provide safe products that are free from defects and that are not unreasonably dangerous. If there are risks of harm associated with a particular product, the manufacturer must also provide adequate warnings.  If the manufacturer fails to fulfill this duty, it could be legally responsible for injuries caused by the herbicide.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s after significant exposure to paraquat, the personal injury attorneys at Lacy Katzen may be able to assist you.  Please call for a free consultation.


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