What is Paraquat?
Paraquat dichloride (commonly referred to as “paraquat”) is a toxic chemical that is widely used as an herbicide (plant killer), primarily for weed and grass control. It is marked under various brand names including Gramoxone, Cyclone, Helmquat, Parazone, Firestorm, and others. In the United States, paraquat is available primarily as a liquid in various strengths. Paraquat was first produced for commercial purposes in 1961. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies paraquat as “restricted use.” This means that it can be used only by people who are licensed applicators.
Paraquat link to Parkinson’s Disease
Medical evidence has linked exposure to paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease. As a result, groups have advocated for additional protections, restrictions and/or a ban. For example, in July 2017, The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council (“UPAC”) sent a letter to the EPA detailing recent scientific findings on paraquat exposure and the risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The UPAC decided to call for paraquat’s ban after reviewing studies on the herbicide’s relationship to Parkinson’s disease. One group of researchers concluded, “Our findings, considered together with earlier results, suggest that paraquat use plays a role in human PD. Because paraquat remains one of the most widely used herbicides worldwide, this finding potentially has great public health significance.” As reported by the UPAC, another study found that people exposed to paraquat at a younger age — in their teen or young adult years — had an increased Parkinson’s risk of 200 to 600 percent, depending on the overall number of years of exposure.
In 2019, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research also submitted a petition with 107,000 signatories, urging the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban paraquat due to the strong scientific links to an increased Parkinson’s disease risk. Also in 2019, Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) introduced the Protect Against Paraquat Act which aims to eliminate paraquat from the U.S. agricultural system. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO) incorporated Rep. Velázquez’s act into a bigger reform bill in the Senate which would reduce the number and types of toxic chemicals and ban paraquat.
As reported by the Foundation, despite its well-documented harms, paraquat use in the United States is at an all-time high over the past 25 years and paraquat is one of only two pesticides still used in the United States that is either banned or being phased out in the European Union, China and Brazil.
Lawsuits against the manufacturers of paraquat products have been filed across the United States by individuals who were exposed to a paraquat product and were subsequently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has been asked to consolidate the cases as a “MDL” (multi-district litigation). An MDL is a type of legal proceeding that helps federal courts efficiently manage many similar cases filed in many different courts across the U.S. by allowing the temporary transfer of all of the federal civil lawsuits to one or more district courts for pretrial consolidation and coordination. The JPML is a group of federal judges designated by the Chief Justice of the United States, which has the responsibility for determining which cases qualify for treatment, as well as which district court to transfer and consolidate these cases. The transfers are made if the Panel determines that the transfers will result in the convenience of the parties and witnesses and will promote the just and efficient conduct of the cases. Even if consolidated, however, each paraquat case would maintain its own individual identity. (For more information about MDLs and the JPML, contact Borgess Law.)
Borgess Law, LLC is currently reviewing potential legal claims for individuals who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and:
- Sprayed, transported or directly handled a paraquat product themselves;
- Were employed or associated with a business that used a paraquat product;
- Were licensed to use a paraquat product; OR
- Live near industrial farms or farming communities that used or may have used a paraquat product.
This includes, but is not limited to farmers, farmworkers, landscapers, agricultural workers, groundskeepers and others.
There is no charge for this review. Further, if the claim is one that we are willing to pursue, there is no fee or expense owed unless a recovery is obtained. Attorney Pamela Borgess, the founder of Borgess Law, LLC, has decades of experience with numerous national high-profile defective product cases and will discuss your legal options. For more information about the Paraquat herbicide litigation or to discuss a potential claim, contact Borgess Law at (567) 455-5955. You can also contact Borgess Law by submitting an online inquiry. Again, this consultation is free and confidential. We welcome any questions you may have.
*This blog does not contain medical advice and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician for personalized medical advice.