Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s Disease?
For years, paraquat has been one of the most commonly-used herbicides across the world. Despite the heavy use of this herbicide, there is substantial evidence that paraquat cases Parkinson’s disease.
The fact that the substance is toxic is no secret, as ingesting paraquat has always been known to be potentially fatal. However, research conducted in recent years shows that regular exposure to paraquat could also result in a Parkinson’s diagnosis as well.
What Is the Link Between Parkinson’s Disease and Paraquat?
The process of linking paraquat to Parkinson’s disease has been long and drawn-out. Research suggesting a link between the herbicide and Parkinson’s disease began more than a decade ago. Attention was drawn to this issue thanks to Environmental Health Perspectives. This study shows that American farmers using paraquat are twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease compared to farmers that do not.
There is also research from Louisiana State University (LSU) concluding that mere proximity to the fields using paraquat could impact a person’s chances of developing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The study reviewed the zip code of an individual and correlated it to proximity to crops that were treated with paraquat. The LSU study shows a plain link between the heavy use of paraquat and an increased risk in developing Parkinson’s disease.
Scientists are still learning about the connection between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. Many of the studies on the relationship between this chemical and Parkinson’s disease have noted that paraquat kills dopamine-producing brain cells. This could result in the serious consequences that many people are now facing.
Paraquat Is Used in Many Ways
To understand how exposure to paraquat can be common, it is helpful to understand how this chemical is used. It is frequently used during the production of numerous crops, including peanuts, strawberries, grapes, and almonds.
One of the reasons that use of paraquat has increased so dramatically in recent years is that it has proven to be effective against weeds that developed a resistance to other herbicides like glyphosate.
Many of the risks of paraquat have been known for years. This substance is already limited by the EPA and labeled as a “restricted use pesticide.” That means that there must be special permission to purchase and use paraquat. Despite these limitations, contact with this substance is possible for people other than the workers handling paraquat directly.
Not Everyone Is Equally at Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Following Paraquat Exposure
Any extended exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease over time. Of course, the extent of possible exposure to this herbicide varies dramatically from one person to the next. For that reason, farmers and other agricultural workers are more likely to be at risk of extended exposure to paraquat compared to everyone else.
Exposure is common at every point that the herbicide is handled by someone. Mixing or loading paraquat into farm equipment frequently results in exposure as particles are released into the air.
Spraying paraquat on crops typically results in the majority of exposure to this dangerous substance. In addition to anyone nearby when the crops are being sprayed, dangerous levels of exposure are also possible simply by working in the fields after paraquat was sprayed. Exposure can also occur to anyone involved in cleaning the equipment used to spray or store paraquat.
Exposure to Paraquat Is Common in Multiple Places
Exposure is most common in an agricultural setting, but it is possible elsewhere. Communities near where paraquat is sprayed have faced exposure. It is also possible for this dangerous chemical to make its way into ground or well water.
What Are Some of the Symptoms That Could Develop from Paraquat Exposure?
There are several symptoms to watch out for that could be related to paraquat exposure. These symptoms – which are related to Parkinson’s disease – largely involve the loss of motor control in the body. Some of these symptoms include:
- Prolonged stiffness of the muscles
- Hand tremors
- Difficult body movement
- Trouble speaking
- Limited facial expressions
- Drooling or trembling
- Sleep disturbances
If you have experienced any of these symptoms following exposure to paraquat, it is vital that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible. A trusted physician could review your condition and help you understand what might be the cause of your motor loss symptoms.
What Are My Options If I am Experiencing Symptoms of Parkinson’s Following Paraquat Exposure?
If you are living with the consequences of exposure to paraquat, you have legal options at your disposal. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against the makers of paraquat – including Chevron Chemical and Syngenta—based on the link between Parkinson’s disease and exposure to the chemical.
The risks of exposure to paraquat are not based on a simple mistake. There is evidence to suggest that the makers of paraquat were aware of the risks the chemical posed and sold it to the public regardless.
The cost of treating Parkinson’s disease can be overwhelming, especially given that those who live with it quickly lose their ability to maintain employment. A civil lawsuit could provide the financial means needed to cover the cost of treating Parkinson’s disease and its associated symptoms.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Paraquat Exposure
There is more to learn about the link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. While doctors are still working to fully understand the link, there is little doubt that paraquat exposure could cause Parkinson’s disease. This debilitating illness could have a lasting impact on your health and quality of life.
If you are living with Parkinson’s following exposure to paraquat, now is the time to seek legal help. Jim Parrish can evaluate your case and help you understand the legal options in front of you. At the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, we are prepared to assist you in building a case against the manufacturers of this dangerous herbicide. Call (571) 229-1800 as soon as possible for a free consultation.