Around 2,000 Paraquat lawsuits have been filed by people who developed Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to this toxic chemical herbicide.
What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Paraquat induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease from the weed-killer Paraquat, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Toxic Chemical Exposure Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
UPDATE: Evidence Syngenta Tried to Downplay Paraquat Parkinson’s Link
In June 2023, an investigation by The Guardian uncovered evidence that Syngenta tried to downplay evidence linking paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, tried to mislead regulators about negative research, and had lawyers secretly suggest edits for scientific reports to downplay concerning findings about the risk of Parkinson’s disease.. Click here to read more.
Paraquat Lawsuits Consolidated in MDL
In June 2021, federal judges established a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) to centralize all federal lawsuits involving Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease into one court: The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois under Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel.
Examples of Paraquat Lawsuits for Parkinson’s Disease
A growing number of lawsuits have been filed against Syngenta and Chevron, the makers of Paraquat herbicides, by people in the U.S. who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Here are a few recent examples:
- March 2021 — Rakoczy v. Syngenta was filed in the Northern District of California by a former farm-worker who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in December 2015 after being exposed to Paraquat since 2013 while working in Long Beach, California.
- March 2021 — Durbin v. Syngenta was filed by a man who claims that he was exposed to Paraquat between 1983 and 2002 while working on farms in Illinois.
- February 2021 — Runyon v Chevron and Piper v. Chevron were filed in Illinois by two people who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to Paraquat.
- December 2020 — Kearns v. Syngenta was filed by a former farm-worker who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in November 2019 after being repeatedly exposed to Paraquat as a crop-duster in Illinois.
- May 2018 — Hoffman v. Syngenta was filed on behalf of 12 people and their spouses who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s after being exposed to Paraquat.
What is Paraquat?
Paraquat is a highly-toxic herbicide (weed-killing chemical) that has been on the market since 1961. Paraquat is also known under the brand-name Gramoxone® or paraquat dichloride. Today, Paraquat is used to control weeds on more than 100 types of crops, but especially corn, soybeans and cotton in the U.S.
Paraquat Banned in 32 Countries — But Not the U.S.
Paraquat was banned by the European Union in 2007, and soon followed by the U.K. and Switzerland. At least 32 countries have banned Paraquat because it is so dangerous, including China, but the U.S. still allows licensed commercial companies to spray Paraquat.
What is the Problem?
Paraquat is extremely toxic to the human body, including the lungs, liver, kidneys, heart, and brain. Just a single sip can be deadly. Mark Davis, senior officer for pesticide management at the United Nations, warns: “It’s terribly toxic. Once it is in your body there is no antidote.”
Paraquat also accumulates in the human brain, and Syngenta’s own scientists have known this for more than 50 years, according to a trove of internal documents known as the Paraquat Papers that were published by The Guardian in 2022. More recently, studies have found a 200-600% increased risk of Parkinson’s disease for people who were exposed to paraquat when they were teenagers or young adults. In animal studies, paraquat exposure causes tremors and other symptoms that resemble Parkinson’s disease.
Weed-Killer Paraquat Linked to Parkinson’s Disease
Another Farmer With Parkinson’s Disease Files Paraquat Lawsuit in Illinois
In February 2021, yet another Illinois farmer with Parkinson’s disease filed a Paraquat lawsuit blaming the toxic herbicide for his illness. The lawsuit was filed by James H., a farmer who sprayed Paraquat on corn, alfalfa, soybean and wheat fields from the 1960s through the 1980s. Click here to read more.
Crop-Duster Files Paraquat Parkinson’s Lawsuit in Illinois
In December 2020, a former crop duster with Parkinson’s disease filed a Paraquat lawsuit blaming his illness on repeated exposures to Paraquat from 1969 to 1981 when it was sprayed on farm fields in Wisconsin and Illinois. The lawsuit was filed against Chevron, Syngenta, and Growmark.
The Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuit (PDF) was filed on December 21, 2020 in St. Clair County, Illinois — Case No. 20L1006.
More Paraquat Lawsuits Filed by Farmers With Parkinson’s Disease
The first Paraquat lawsuit was a class action that was filed in October 2017 in St. Clair County, Illinois, by 3 farmers with Parkinson’s disease. One of the farmers, Thomas Hoffmann, died 23 days after filing the lawsuit. More recently, in April 2019, a group of Paraquat lawsuits were filed in California state court by 10 men with Parkinson’s disease.
Who Is At Risk?
- People who live in rural areas where Paraquat is sprayed on crops
- Farmers and farm-workers
- Pesticide applicators
- People who handle Paraquat for a commercial business
How Does Paraquat Get Into the Body?
- Drinking the chemical
- Breathing it in the air
- Eating food or drinking water that is contaminated
- Occupational exposure
- Using agricultural pesticides
- Skin contact through cuts or sores
Breathing Paraquat Gives It Direct Pathway to Brain, Study Finds
In December 2020, a study found that breathing Paraquat gives it a direct pathway to the brain, which may help explain the link to Parkinson’s Disease. Researchers exposed mice to low levels of Parquat in the air for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. After 28 days, male mice lost their sense of smell (a common early sign of Parkinson’s Disease) and they had high concentrations of Paraquat in the brain tissue and lungs.
Source: Anderson T. “Paraquat inhalation, a translationally relevant route of exposure: disposition to the brain and male-specific olfactory impairment in mice.” — Toxicological Sciences, 2020 December.
California Study Links Paraquat and 200-600% Higher Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
In 2009, two studies in California’s Central Valley found that people had an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease after years of exposure to Paraquat and another herbicide called Maneb. People who were exposed as teenagers or young adult had a 200% to 600% increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, with a higher risk linked to a greater overall number of years of exposure to Paraquat.
Source: Dopamine transporter genetic variants and pesticides in Parkinson’s disease — Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Jun.
NIH Study Links Paraquat With 200% Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
In 2011, the Agricultural Heath Study found a 200% increased risk of Parkinson’s disease among farmers who mixed or applied Paraquat. The authors of the study concluded: “Paraquat use plays a role in human Parkinson’s disease. Because Paraquat remains one of the most widely used herbicides worldwide, this finding potentially has great public health significance.”
Toxic Risks of Paraquat Spark Marijuana Health Scare in 1970s
The toxic effects of Paraquat have been known for decades. Back in the 1970s, Paraquat created a public health scare in the U.S. when the Mexican government used U.S.-funded airplanes to spray Paraquat on illegal marijuana and opium poppy fields. The growers sold the poisoned plants to consumers in the U.S. — and many of them suffered permanent lung disease and other side effects.
Immediate Signs & Symptoms of Paraquat Exposure
Ingesting a small amount of Paraquat can lead to heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure, and lung scarring within several days or weeks.
Ingesting larger amounts of Paraquat can cause severe symptoms within days, including kidney failure, confusion, coma, heart damage, liver failure, lung scarring, muscle weakness, fluid in the lungs, breathing failure, seizures, and death.
Long-Term Health Risks of Paraquat Poisoning
If a person survives the toxic effects of Paraquat poisoning, they may develop long-term health problems, such as:
- Brain damage
- Permanent lung damage (scarring)
- Kidney failure
- Heart failure
- Esophageal strictures (scarring of the swallowing tube that makes it hard for a person to swallow)
- Other severe side effects
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that can lead to shaking, stiffness, and trouble walking and talking. The symptoms gradually worsen as the disease damages the part of the brain that controls movements.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
- Tremor (trembling) in the hands, arms, legs, jaw or head
- Stiffness of the arms, legs, and abdomen
- Slow movement
- Problems balancing and coordinating movements, which sometimes leads to falls
- And more
Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
- Behavior changes
- Sleep problems
- Memory problems
- Loss of sense of smell
- Cognitive impairment
Am I Eligible to File a Paraquat Lawsuit?
You may be eligible to file a Paraquat lawsuit and seek compensation if you or a family member developed Parkinson’s Disease after being exposed to Paraquat as a farmer, agricultural worker, laborer, crop-duster, or person who lived in a rural area near farmland where Paraquat was sprayed.
What Compensation May Be Available to Me?
- Medical expenses (past, present and future care)
- Lost wages, income, or ability to earn money
- Physical & emotional pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of life
- Wrongful death, funeral expenses, lost companionship
Can I Join a Class Action?
Many Paraquat lawsuits have already been filed, but not as part of a nationwide Paraquat class action. Instead, they are individual lawsuits for people with Parkinson’s Disease who have hired their own attorney to fight for maximum compensation.
Will There Be a Paraquat MDL?
Paraquat lawsuits nationwide have been centralized in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL #3004) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, where they are overseen by Chief U.S. District Judge Nancy Rosenstengel. Thousands of paraquat lawsuits nationwdie have been transferred into the MDL.
In the U.S. court system, the MDL process is commonly used to resolve a large number of lawsuits for people who were harmed by toxic chemicals like Paraquat. Recent examples include the Roundup® herbicide MDL against Monsanto/Bayer for people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which ended in a $12 billion settlement for more than 100,000 lawsuits.
Have There Been any Paraquat Lawsuit Settlements?
Paraquat lawsuits are still very early in the claims process and lawyers are not negotiating settlements. No one knows if there will be a settlement for people with Parkinson’s disease, but it is possible that Paraquat settlements will be used to avoid trials that might end in huge jury verdicts for the victims.
Will Paraquat Lawsuits Be Like Roundup?
If a large number of Paraquat lawsuits are filed, a settlement could be a possibility for resolving a majority of the lawsuits all at once. This was the case with Roundup, another toxic weed-killer that was linked to health problems, where over 100,000 lawsuits were settled for more than $12 billion.
Do I have a Paraquat Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Paraquat induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease from Paraquat herbicides, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Toxic Chemical Exposure Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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