Paraquat is an herbicide used to manage weeds in commercial applications, such as agriculture. In the United States, paraquat is categorized as a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and only certified commercial users may use it. Due to its high level of toxicity, licensed users must take many safety precautions when storing and handling this liquid chemical.
For safety reasons, paraquat should not be used for many common applications, such as in-home gardens, parks, playgrounds, schools, residential buildings, and golf courses. If you were exposed to paraquat, you should get immediate medical attention.
How Farmers and Certified Applicators Use Paraquat As a Weed Killer
In its end-product form, paraquat is commonly known as Gramoxone. According to information from the manufacturer, Syngenta, Gramoxone can be used to:
- Kill certain grasses and weeds within 48 hours
- Kill weeds before planting row crops and other types of planting
- Control the most difficult-to-manage weeds, such as Florida beggarweed, Italian ryegrass, barnyardgrass, Palmer amaranth, morning glory, Johnsongrass, and sicklepod
- Kill weeds that are resistant to glyphosate (also known as the herbicide, Roundup)
Farmers and other commercial users may have many other uses for paraquat beyond those listed here.
The Dangers of Paraquat and Warnings for Handling
As previously mentioned, paraquat can only be used by certified applicators. This is because of the product’s toxicity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes several recommendations for storing the chemical. Paraquat should:
- Not be kept by homeowners or in any other residential settings
- Be safely secured to discourage accidental handling by children or other non-licensed users
- Never be stored in containers used to hold beverages so that paraquat is not mistaken for an ingestible liquid
If you are exposed to paraquat directly through the skin or inhalation, you should remove any contaminated clothing, wash thoroughly, and get medical attention immediately.
After ingesting even a small amount of the chemical, you could face serious and fatal health consequences. If you accidentally swallow paraquat, you should also get medical help immediately.
Other Long-Term Health Risks Associated with Paraquat
Despite the restrictions on paraquat use, you could have been exposed to the substance in several ways, including as a farmer or other agricultural worker. Additionally, data suggests that there could be long-term health risks for those who faced long-term, indirect exposure to paraquat through handling the substance and working in paraquat-treated fields.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) led a study on the link between Parkinson’s Disease and paraquat use. The study showed that people exposed to paraquat through normal use were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the brain, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Researchers believe that paraquat exposure ultimately may lead to damage to neurons in the brain.
Parkinson’s Disease Can Cause Serious Health Challenges
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may include the following:
- Slowed movement
- Trembling in the head, neck, and extremities (e.g., hands, arms, and legs)
- Trunk and limb stiffness
- Coordination and balance challenges
- Problems with chewing, swallowing, and speaking
If you were exposed to paraquat over the long term and have concerning symptoms, you should speak with a doctor.
What You Should Know If You Were Harmed By Paraquat
You could be concerned that your exposure to paraquat led to health complications. In that case, you could be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer and seek compensation for your losses.
Consider taking the following steps for your case:
Seek Medical Attention and Get Necessary Treatment
It’s best to get the medical care you need to diagnose and treat your symptoms. This is important for many reasons – top among them being your health. For example, if you start to show signs of Parkinson’s disease, you can begin treatment to address your symptoms.
If you don’t have a diagnosed health condition, you could have trouble showing that paraquat use harmed you. On the other hand, if you get medical attention, you can:
- Demonstrate that you were harmed
- Document the seriousness of your health condition
- Continue to document the progression or worsening of any symptoms
Once you get medical care, follow your doctor’s recommendations. Then, if you later decide to bring a lawsuit, you could show that you did everything you could for your own health – and you didn’t contribute to worsening your own health outcomes.
Get a Free Case Review from a Law Firm
If you get a free case review from a lawyer’s team, you can learn more about your legal options and many other recommendations for your case. For instance, you can ask a lawyer’s team questions about:
- Whether you could have a case for compensation
- What an injury case could entail
- What the lawsuit or settlement process could look like
- Who could be liable for your harm
- What types of compensation could be available
- How a lawyer could help
Many law firms offer these consultations for free, so there is no risk to you. Additionally, many injury lawyers work based on contingency fees, so you could get started on an injury case without the need to pay from your savings.
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Get a Free Case Review from the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC
At the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, we can help you learn more about your next steps. If you decide to work with our team, our attorneys can handle every detail of your case. We can gather evidence to demonstrate your harm from paraquat, file a lawsuit, handle litigation, and keep you updated through every step of the process.