Paraquat Lawsuit

Exposure to the commercial herbicide paraquat has been linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease. Many people who have been exposed to paraquat and now have Parkinson’s have filed a class-action lawsuit for damages against the chemical manufacturer.

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara

Content last updated on: April 9, 2024

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease following exposure to paraquat, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit or participate in class-action lawsuits for financial compensation. 

The legal team at O’Mara Law Group focuses on product liability cases where consumers are harmed, and we’re currently accepting clients for paraquat lawsuits. If you’ve used paraquat or worked in an industry where you were exposed to it, contact us today for a consultation about this mass tort case.

What is paraquat? And what is paraquat used for?

Paraquat dichloride (commonly known as paraquat) is an herbicide used for killing weeds in the commercial farming industry. As such, farmers and laborers in the United States are at high risk for exposure, as are people who live in close proximity to commercial farms or share a water source with one.

Paraquat is a restricted-use pesticide per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which prohibits the use of the chemical by residential users. It’s only permitted for commercial use by licensed applicators, so you won’t find it on the shelves of your favorite gardening center.

Instead, it’s used on orchards, commercial fields and large estates to eliminate the growth of weeds near crops. Paraquat is sold under the brand names Ortho Paraquat and Gramoxone. It may be used for weeds that are resistant to Round-Up and its ingredient glyphosate.

Currently, paraquat is banned in Europe and China. However, its use has only grown in the United States, and according to the EPA, it’s one of the most commonly used weed killers in the country, with more than 11 million pounds used each year.

Paraquat Poisoning

Paraquat is a very effective herbicide that has been used by farmers since the 1960s to remove weeds near their crops, but it’s been known for decades to be a highly-toxic substance. 

Paraquat poisoning occurs through ingesting or inhaling it, getting it on your skin or coming into contact with recently-sprayed plants. Because it’s so toxic, several federal regulations are in place to safeguard people from accidental poisoning. These include:

  • Dying it blue so it’s distinguishable from a beverage
  • Adding a chemical emetic agent to cause vomiting immediately after ingestion
  • Giving it a strong, unpleasant odor

While these safeguards protect against accidental consumption, they don’t protect people who are exposed when the chemical is sprayed or who live near an area with regular paraquat application.

Long-Term Effects of Paraquat Poisoning

Prolonged exposure to paraquat can lead to several degenerative disorders, including:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Atypical Parkinson’s
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy

Paraquat alters the chemistry of the body’s cells, damaging them to the point of death through oxidative stress. This is the same kind of cell damage that can cause cancer and many other diseases. When certain dopamine neuron cells are damaged by oxidative stress, they become too damaged to function properly. And when enough dopamine neuron cells are damaged, it can lead to Parkinson’s disease.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and you know you were exposed to paraquat, then you may be entitled to paraquat settlements. Contact the O’Mara Law Group today.

Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that gets progressively worse over time. It can cause motor difficulties and complicate physical activity, but it also has non-motor symptoms and can cause cognitive decline. 

Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s, although there are some treatment options that can help slow the progression of the disease and alleviate some of its symptoms. The settlement you may receive from a paraquat lawsuit can help you or your loved one pay for these treatments and services.

Motor Symptoms

Motor symptoms affect your motor skills, fine muscle control and ambulation. Common motor symptoms of Parkinson’s include:

  • Slow reflex reaction or voluntary movement
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Limb stiffness, in which arms or legs resist passive movement
  • Resting tremors or shaking when muscles are relaxed

As the disease progresses, people with Parkinson’s disease may have trouble talking and walking independently.

Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s

For many people, non-motor symptoms may cause more stress and challenges in daily life than motor difficulties. Common non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s include:

  • Cognitive impairment, including dementia-like symptoms
  • Depression or apathy
  • Insomnia 
  • Constipation and bladder problems

Some people may see benefits from occupational therapy and other therapies designed to help slow cognitive decline, although each individual is different. Paraquat settlements may enable your family to seek enhanced treatment for your loved one with Parkinson’s disease.

History of Paraquat

1961Paraquat produced for commercial purposes
1970Mexican drug enforcement authorities, with funding from the U.S. government, sprayed the chemical on marijuana that later crossed the border.
1997EPA acknowledges Paraquat might be linked to Parkinson’s disease.
2009Scientific research shows that exposure within 1600 feet increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease up to 75%
2011Paraquat labelled a “significant concern” by the EPA
2013California Poison Control System and American Association of Poison Control Centers sent letters of concern to the EPA regarding Paraquat exposure after an accidental ingestion in San Joaquin Valley of California.
2016EPA’s Paraquat Human Health Mitigation Decision
2017EPA says applicators must be certified and licensed
2021EPA releases new guidelines regarding Paraquat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Paraquat Lawsuits

If you’ve been exposed to paraquat, you likely have many questions. Here are some answers to the most common ones.

Who is eligible for a paraquat lawsuit?

The best way to know for sure is to consult with a legal team that focuses on paraquat exposure and has a track record of holding manufacturers responsible for the physical damage sustained as a result of exposure. The O’Mara Law Group can evaluate your circumstances and determine whether you qualify.

How do you prove paraquat exposure?

Some cases of paraquat exposure are easier to prove than others. For example, if you can prove that you worked on a commercial agricultural property that used paraquat herbicide, then your exposure can be fairly straightforward to prove.

However, if you merely lived near a commercial farm that used paraquat, but you didn’t actually work on it, then proving your peripheral exposure may be a little more complicated. This is why hiring a lawyer who focuses on paraquat exposure cases is important, as they know what can constitute exposure to the chemical in the eyes of the law.

Has anyone won a paraquat lawsuit?

Currently, paraquat lawsuits are being handled in a class-action suit, where hundreds of clients are all being represented as a group of plaintiffs in the same trial. This lawsuit was filed a couple of years ago and is currently working its way through the court system. As of June 2022, the judge presiding over this lawsuit is pushing the parties involved to be prepared for trial in the fall of 2022, although there is no guarantee.

The trial attorneys involved, including O’Mara Law Group, are confident in the strength of their case.

What is the average settlement for paraquat?

Because the class-action lawsuit is still pending trial, there has not been a settlement yet, and speculating on paraquat lawsuit settlement amounts can be tricky. However, your personal injury attorney from O’Mara Law Group will fight hard for the maximum settlement you’re entitled to.

Do you now have Parkinson's disease after paraquat exposure?

If you or a loved one developed Parkinson’s after using or being exposed to the commercial herbicide paraquat, you might be able to file a lawsuit for damages to cover your medical bills and compensate you for the pain and suffering you’re experiencing. We can help. Contact O’Mara Law Group today for a consultation about your case.

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