Lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP, a national personal injury law firm, are investigating potential lawsuits on behalf of Parkinson’s disease victims whose illness may have resulted from exposure to the agricultural pesticide paraquat. A growing body of research suggests a link between Parkinson’s disease, a nervous system disorder that causes impaired speech and motor skills, and certain agricultural pesticides, including paraquat. As the connection between paraquat and Parkinson’s is further explored, more lawsuits are likely to follow.
If you lived or worked in an area where paraquat was used and have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Parker Waichman’s lawyers are offering free legal consultations to Parkinson’s disease sufferers who may be victims of this pesticide. To learn how our experienced paraquat exposure attorneys can help your family, we urge you to contact us today by completing the form on the right or calling us at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
What Is Paraquat, and Why Would I Need a Paraquat Lawyer?
Paraquat was first introduced commercially in 1961 and is a toxic chemical that is widely used as an herbicide, primarily for weed and grass control. In the U.S., paraquat is classified as “restricted use,” which means that it can be used only by people who are licensed applicators. Recent research has implicated exposure to agricultural pesticides, including paraquat, in Parkinson’s disease. Studies have seen an increased risk among agricultural workers, but in some cases, research has also indicated that people who live or work in regions where paraquat is used may also be more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s Disease?
It appears highly likely that paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease. A 2011 research study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives showed a link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, and the evidence has only grown from there. According to a regulatory filing by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a substantial number of epidemiological studies have concluded that paraquat dichloride increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
In October 2020, the EPA released a proposed interim decision on paraquat. The EPA document proposes to update regulations by adding several new safety measures intended to reduce paraquat’s health risks. These measures would prohibit aerial application to most crops, prohibit the use of pressurized backpack sprayer or handgun application methods, limit application rates, and add obligatory spray drift management label warnings. The EPA doesn’t have sufficient evidence to definitively name paraquat as one of the chemicals that cause Parkinson’s at this time, as long as the chemical is used as directed on its label, but research is still ongoing.
What Does Paraquat Do to Humans?
A 2018 study from the University of Guelph in Ontario found that paraquat poisoning damaged cell mitochondria at doses well below the EPA’s reported lowest observed effect level. The findings also proved that people with a genetic predisposition to Parkinson’s disease are substantially more sensitive to agrochemicals than previously understood. Therefore, individuals who have a genetic predisposition to Parkinson’s disease and live near agricultural areas are at a substantially higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. If you have worked with this herbicide and now have Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to contact a paraquat lawyer as soon as possible to find out whether you can recover compensation through a settlement or jury award.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease, and How Is it Linked to Paraquat Lawsuits?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive central nervous system disorder that afflicts 500,000 Americans and is one of the most common diseases of old age; however, Parkinson’s disease can also affect younger adults. Parkinson’s disease occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that make dopamine, a chemical that helps control muscle movements, are slowly destroyed. The cause of Parkinson’s disease is not well understood, but it is believed that in many cases, environmental triggers, such as toxic exposures, may play a role. The link between use of pesticides and Parkinson’s grows with each year of new research, as does the number of paraquat lawsuits filed.
How Does Parkinson’s Disease Affect the Human Body?
Signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease become worse over time and can include:
- Slowed movements
- Rigid muscles
- Impaired posture and balance
- Loss of automatic movements, such as blinking and smiling
- Speech changes
- Dementia in latter stages of the disease
Which Pesticides Cause Parkinson’s Disease?
Paraquat is one of the primary chemicals that cause Parkinson’s; there’s more data linking this pesticide to the disease than any other. Some research has also linked Parkinson’s disease with rotenone, a pesticide more commonly used by homeowners. There is also research supporting a link to the fungicide maneb. Paraquat is one of many pesticides banned in Europe but still widely used throughout the United States.
What Products Contain Paraquat?
Paraquat is found in a number of herbicides, including Gramoxone, Firestorm, Helmquat, and Parazone.
Research Supporting Paraquat Parkinson’s Lawsuit Claims
The link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease is well documented in numerous case studies conducted over the past 20 years.
In April 2009, evidence emerged that the paraquat and Parkinson’s link could occur in combination with the fungicide maneb, according to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). According to their findings, people who merely lived near farm fields that were sprayed with maneb and paraquat had a 75 percent increased risk for Parkinson’s disease.
In June 2011, a follow-up to the UCLA study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology found that combined exposure to paraquat, maneb, and another fungicide, ziram, near any workplace increased the risk of Parkinson’s disease threefold, while combined exposure to ziram and paraquat alone was associated with an 80 percent increase in risk. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology also found an increased chance of contracting Parkinson’s disease if paraquat was sprayed within 1,600 feet of a home.
Scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, California, published a study in the June 2011 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives showing that people who worked with paraquat and the pesticide rotenone were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who did not work with the pesticides. To reach these conclusions, the research team studied 110 people with Parkinson’s disease and 358 matched controls from the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) Study. FAME is a case-control study that is part of the larger Agricultural Health Study.
The 2018 University of Guelph study was unprecedented, finding that paraquat and maneb caused an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. All previous studies relied on animal test subjects, whereas this study used human dopamine-producing neurons created from human stem cells. Dopamine-producing neurons are the cells that become genetically mutated and cause Parkinson’s disease.
Professor Scott Ryan, a professor in the department of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Guelph, conducted the research study. Ryan concluded that exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 250%. The study’s results were published in the journal Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
Paraquat Exposure Can Lead to the Clinical Features of Parkinsonism in Humans
Study Finds Pesticide Paraquat Causes Mitochondrial Dysfunction / Oxidative Stress, Which Presents Clinical Features of Parkinsonism in Humans
A study posted on nih.gov reports that a study shows how Paraquat and Rotenone exposure can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress, presenting similar clinical features of Parkinsonism in humans. The study reported that the pesticides Paraquat and Rotenone could cause mitochondrial complex I inhibition (complex I inhibitors) or oxidative stress (oxidative stressors). Both oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are pathophysiologic mechanisms connected with the experimental models and genetic forms of Parkinson’s disease. Some pesticides have been shown to affect these mechanisms, but no insecticides/pesticides have been definitively connected with Parkinson’s disease in humans.
One recent study aimed to determine whether pesticides that cause oxidative stress or mitochondrial dysfunction are associated with the “clinical features of Parkinsonism in humans and Parkinson’s disease.” The case-control study utilized data collected in an Agricultural Health Study that assessed individuals who used pesticides over a lifetime. Movement disorders specialists diagnosed Parkinson’s disease.
The study results found that in 110 Parkinson’s disease cases and 358 controls, Parkinson’s disease was connected to the use of pesticides such as Rotenone that inhibits mitochondrial complex I and a group of pesticides that induce oxidative stress Paraquat.
Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction have been connected with the underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease. However, after decades of laboratory research and study, neither one of the pesticides has been definitively connected with Parkinson’s disease in humans. Previous studies have reported a relationship between Parkinson’s disease and Paraquat exposure. However, the results have not been consistent enough to confirm the connection.
The study helped connect the dots between human populations and basic research. Both Paraquat and Rotenone were linked experimentally to the pathophysiological mechanisms that are found in human Parkinson’s disease. The groups of pesticides that are linked to the mechanisms of oxidative stress or mitochondrial dysfunction were also connected to Parkinson’s disease in the study, therefore showing strong evidence that these mechanisms play a role in Parkinson’s disease in humans.
The study also found that the potential for exposure to Rotenone and Paraquat extends beyond occupational exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many people are not aware of the presence of pesticides in their environments. The study and future studies will continue to examine the interplay between experimental and human studies. The future mechanistic studies of pesticides will aim to model the common exposure conditions that occur in humans, such as chronic low-dose exposure, assessment of gene–exposure interactions, and exposure to multiple agents. It is believed that these studies will provide new insights into the pathogenesis and eventual prevention of Parkinson’s disease.
Has There Been a Paraquat Lawsuit?
There have been 50 years’ worth of paraquat lawsuits filed against Syngenta, the largest manufacturer of paraquat. This included a Parkinson’s disease class-action suit against Syngenta on behalf of farmers in 2017, which is still pending, as well as many suits in California and other states with large numbers of agricultural workers. It’s likely that more evidence will be gathered and more Parkinson’s lawsuit claims will be filed as time goes on, as the popularity of paraquat has spiked in recent years in the United States with farmers moving away from using Roundup, another herbicide subject to health-related litigation. Approximately seven million pounds of paraquat are used each year in the United States.
Get Legal Help From a Knowledgeable Paraquat Parkinson’s Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one suffers from Parkinson’s disease that could be the result of paraquat herbicide exposure, you may be able to pursue a paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuit to recover compensation. To get a free legal consultation with one of our paraquat exposure lawyers, just fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today. Our knowledgeable paraquat Parkinson’s disease attorneys will help you understand your legal rights and fight vigorously for the compensation you deserve.
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