NEW YORK – According to a news article on Reuters.com, environmental groups and farmworkers filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (“EP”) for re-approving the weedkiller paraquat. The lawsuit alleges that the EPA’s decision has put farmworkers at an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The Plaintiffs are challenging the EPA paraquat re-approval, citing the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
The Farmworker Association of Florida and other organizations asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to examine the EPA’s decision to approve the continued use of paraquat, which they allege violates the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
The EPA’s spokesperson, Ken Labbe, did not provide any comments since the litigation is pending. The EPA issued its approval because the agency stated that there was insufficient evidence that links paraquat exposure to Parkinson’s disease.
An increasing number of product liability lawsuits have been filed and the suits allege paraquat exposure may cause Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative brain disease that can cause a loss of muscle coordination. Four months ago, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated these cases in the Southern District of Illinois.
According to the EPA, paraquat is usually applied to corn, soybean, and cotton crop fields to kill invasive grasses and weeds. The EPA first recorded the chemical in 1964, but it must undergo a registration review every 15 years. EPA’s approval is restricted to licensed commercial users.
According to the Farmworker Association of Florida, the EPA’s decision leaves farmworkers exposed to “unreasonable risks.”
Paraquat is banned in most countries, including China, the European Union, and Brazil.
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