Farmers and the agricultural industry work hard to protect crops and put food on our tables. Landscapers, groundskeepers, and commercial applicators protect plants and fauna to make our land beautiful. But who protects them when a toxic chemical like the pesticide paraquat endangers their health?
Research shows that exposure to paraquat dichloride increases one’s risk for Parkinson’s disease, a chronic degenerative disorder affecting the central nervous system and motor function. If you were exposed to paraquat and now suffer from Parkinson’s, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Ricci Law Firm are here to help.
Paraquat Is a Potentially Deadly Herbicide
Paraquat entered the U.S. market in 1964. Since then, the agricultural industry has used it to control weeds and grass in various settings. When crops and vegetation became resistant to other chemicals, paraquat sales increased, making it more prevalent.
The Environmental Protection Agency classifies paraquat as a “restricted use” pesticide, which means the people who mix or apply it—primarily farmers — must have a special license and training. The chemical is commonly applied to alfalfa, corn, and cotton crops, as well as fruit orchards and vineyards.
Despite its effectiveness, paraquat poses harmful, if not fatal, dangers to human health. North Carolina is among the states where it is used most, putting farmers, growers, and agricultural workers statewide at serious risk.
When digested, paraquat rapidly diffuses into the body, compromising the kidneys, liver, lungs, and other organs. Because 70% of people who take even one sip of paraquat die from it, federal regulations require a blue dye additive so people won’t mistake the chemical for Gatorade, Powerade, or another beverage.
How Paraquat Is Marketed
Swiss manufacturer Syngenta is the leading producer of paraquat. Syngenta and other chemical companies sell the pesticide in the U.S. under brand names that include:
- Cyclone SL 2.0
- Helmquat 3SL
- Para-Shot 3.0
- Paraquat Concentrate
Ironically, Switzerland banned paraquat’s use outright nearly 25 years ago, along with Brazil, China, and many European countries. The U.S. has only implemented rules to prevent accidental consumption; federal legislators introduced a bill to ban all uses of the toxin, but the legislation stalled in Congress.
Understanding Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s is a devastating disease that creates a dopamine deficit in the brain that damages nerve cells, causing uncontrolled movements. The progression often starts with a hand tremor, followed by tremors in other limbs, loss of balance, and stiffness—quickly or gradually, depending on the individual.
Besides limited motor skills, people with Parkinson’s can also experience:
- Cognitive impairments
- Loss of sense of smell
- Sleep disorders
The disease usually worsens over time, impacting the individual’s everyday activities and the lives of their family and caregivers. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but medications can help manage the symptoms.
Contact Ricci Law Firm Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one has been exposed to paraquat dichloride and were later diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you may be entitled to compensation from the paraquat manufacturers.
Recoverable compensation can include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate victims for tangible, calculable costs, such as medical bills and lost income. Non-economic damages address injuries that are harder to calculate, such as physical pain and emotional distress. North Carolina also allows punitive damages when the victim can prove the defendant engaged in “willful and wanton” misconduct.
In tragic cases where the victim dies, the person’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim to compensate surviving family members for the separate economic (funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, etc.) and non-economic damages (loss of consortium, loss of affection, etc.).
But a lawsuit is about more than money; it’s a way to obtain justice from paraquat manufacturers for failing to warn users about the inherent, known dangers of a toxic pesticide they produce.
You can hold those wrongdoers accountable. Contact us for a free consultation about your rights.