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How Is Paraquat Linked to Parkinson’s Disease?

man with Parkinson's disease trying to eat with a spoon

Paraquat exposure may be linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. The toxic chemical can kill people with a single sip, so it is no surprise that Paraquat’s long-term effects are coming to light. While other countries have banned paraquat, the United States remains one of the herbicide’s biggest consumers.

Many people use paraquat and have no idea that exposure to the toxic chemical might increase their risk of Parkinson’s – by as much as 600% according to some studies. Sadly, the problem mostly affects agricultural workers because only trained certified applicators are authorized to use paraquat.

What Is Paraquat?

Paraquat is a toxic chemical that agricultural workers use to kill weeds. Farmers typically spray a liquid version of the herbicide (plant killer) over crops to eliminate unwelcome plant growth, and it can also be used to kill crops like cotton prior to harvest.

Because paraquat is extremely poisonous, the version of the chemical available in the United States is marked with blue dye, a sharp odor, and a vomiting agent in case of consumption.

Agricultural workers in the United States have been using paraquat since 1961, but the product is not available for household use.

Most people are exposed to paraquat at work. Paraquat exposure can cause immediate damage when it meets the lining of the mouth, stomach, or intestines, and paraquat poisoning can destroy the lungs, liver, and kidney.

Ingesting paraquat is often fatal, and long-term exposure can lead to scarring of the internal organs.

Although paraquat has many warning labels and its use is subject to many rules and regulations, the chemical’s largest manufacturer, Syngenta, never warned users that paraquat use could lead to neurological damage.

Nevertheless, there is a convincing link between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s – to the point that some experts call the prominence of Parkinson’s “a man-made pandemic.”

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a type of movement disorder that occurs when the brain does not produce enough dopamine. The disease usually begins gradually and gets worse over time.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s include:

  • Shaking
  • Stiffness
  • Trembling in the hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
  • Difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination
  • Problems with chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • Mental and behavioral changes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but medicines and other treatments can help with symptoms.

No one knows for sure what causes Parkinson’s. The U.S. government’s MedlinePlus explains that some cases run in families and “exposure to chemicals in the environment might play a role.

How Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s Disease?

Researchers believe paraquat causes cell damage and death in the dopamine neuron cells of the brain by triggering oxidative stress.

Although the link between paraquat and Parkinson’s has been cited in studies going back more than 2 decades, and the link has only gotten stronger within the past 5 years, Syngenta has long denied the science connecting its product to Parkinson’s.

Still, plaintiffs are beginning to come through with lawsuits against Syngenta and other manufacturers, including Growmark and Chevron U.S.A.

What Can I Do If I Have Been Diagnosed with Parkinson’s After Paraquat Exposure?

If you have spent time in agriculture and used paraquat as a licensed handler and been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you should speak to an attorney right away.

Syngenta, Growmark, and Chevron have known about the link between paraquat and Parkinson’s for decades, but they have never issued so much as a warning.

Now, farmers and other agricultural workers who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are coming forward with lawsuits to hold these companies accountable for their inaction – and for selling a dangerous and defective product across the United States.

Don’t fight Parkinson’s alone, and don’t let agri-giants win. Instead, call the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli and put more than 20 years of experience on your side.

Tell us about your experience with paraquat and Parkinson’s during a free consultation, and if you have a convincing case, we will help you fight for compensation and justice.

What are you waiting for? Call us at (516) 628-6402 or contact us online to get started tod
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