Use of Herbicide Paraquat Increases Despite Well-Known Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

risk of herbicide paraquat

Despite the well-known and well-documented health dangers of paraquat — a commercial-grade herbicide — the chemical continues to be manufactured, sold, and utilized regularly in the United States.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides on U.S. crops. Nearly 11 million pounds of the herbicide are sprayed across a vast array of American crops each year.

Since the early 2000s, study after study has shown paraquat to be linked to Parkinson’s disease, a progressive nervous system disorder that can lead to uncontrollable shakiness, stiffness, and the general deterioration of motor-function abilities.

While the herbicide has been banned in more than 35 countries worldwide — including the entire European Union and China — there has been no such ban in the United States. In fact, use of the herbicide has actually increased in the United States in recent years, more than doubling since 2013.

Paraquat is sold under the brand names Gramozone and Ortho Paraquat.

Numerous Studies Link Paraquat to Parkinson’s Disease

As stated by the EPA, “Paraquat is highly toxic.” Similar to poison, in cases where paraquat has been accidentally ingested, it has resulted in severe illness and death. The EPA notes: “One small sip can be fatal and there is no antidote.”

Individuals can also be subject to paraquat poisoning by:

  • Coming into close proximity with recently sprayed plants
  • Accidentally getting paraquat on their skin or hair
  • Mixing, loading, or applying paraquat

Used to kill unwanted grass and weeds on commercial soybean, corn, and cotton farms (among others, including orchards), agricultural laborers, and those living in close proximity to where paraquat is sprayed are at especially high risk of developing Parkinson’s.

According to the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council, chronic exposure to paraquat can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 200-600%.

Furthermore, a comprehensive review of the medical literature on paraquat shows that the rate of occurrence of Parkinson’s disease was 25% higher in individuals who were exposed to paraquat. The same study also indicates that the longer one’s exposure to paraquat, the higher their chance of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Rise in Paraquat Lawsuits

While the use of paraquat on American crops increases, so too does the probability of more and more farmworkers getting sick and developing diseases. Parkinson’s disease is especially difficult and costly to treat, extremely debilitating, and there is no known cure.

The sad reality is that the United States lags behind other agricultural nations in banning and eliminating the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. Beyond paraquat, the well-known weed killer RoundUp®, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate, is another prominent herbicide that is widely used in the United States in spite of its link to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The health dangers associated with herbicides like paraquat are incredibly well-documented. Ideally, this alone would be enough of an incentive for dangerous chemicals to be banned and safer alternatives to be developed.

However, the companies that deploy paraquat across their crops continue to do so at an alarming rate — prioritizing profits over the health of their employees and others living nearby who may also be harmed.

It’s for reasons like this that injured individuals and their families are fighting back — and the best way to hold such companies accountable is by filing a paraquat lawsuit.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s after potentially being exposed to paraquat, contact Sokolove Law today for a free legal case review.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: March 25, 2021

View 6 Sources
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  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Facts About Paraquat.” Retrieved from https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/paraquat/basics/facts.asp. Accessed on March 9, 2021.

  3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Paraquat Dichloride.” Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/paraquat-dichloride. Accessed March 24, 2021.

  4. U.S. Geological Survey. “Estimated Annual Agricultural Pesticide Use.” Retrieved from https://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/pnsp/usage/maps/show_map.php?year=2017&map=PARAQUAT&hilo=L&disp=Paraquat. Accessed March 23, 2021.

  5. Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council. “Paraquat Dichloride Registration Review.” Retrieved from https://files.michaeljfox.org/Paraquat_letter_FINAL.pdf. Accessed on March 23, 2021.

  6. Vaccari, Carolina. “Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Sept 2, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10937404.2019.1659197?journalCode=uteb20&. Accessed March 22, 2021.