Farmers and agricultural workers who have been exposed to the herbicide paraquat may have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat is more commonly known by brand names like Gramoxone, Parazone, Blanco, Firestorm, Quick-Quat, or Cyclone.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the central nervous system making daily movement and activity a challenge. As the disease advances, patients may be unable to walk or perform simple tasks such as brushing their teeth without assistance.

Paraquat Attorneys Helping Farmers & Agricultural Workers with Parkinson’s Disease

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after working in agriculture, a manufacturing facility that produces a paraquat-containing herbicide, or if you live in an agricultural area, you may be entitled to compensation.

Contact our toxic tort lawyers at The Ferraro Law Firm for a free legal consultation to learn more. Our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of people who have become injured or sick due to exposure to harmful chemicals. Among our notable successes is a $4 million verdict against chemical giant DuPont for a mother who gave birth to a baby without eyes after exposure to a dangerous DuPont-made fungicide.

Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s Disease?

For more than a decade, scientific research has shown a link between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease. 

In 2009, The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that paraquat sprayed within 550 yards of a home can increase residents’ risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 75 percent.

Two years later, a National Institute of Health study found that agricultural workers that used paraquat were 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Most recently, in 2018, a study conducted in Canada found that paraquat exposure increased the risk for Parkinson’s disease by about 250 percent.

In response to these alarming findings, the European Union and countries like Brazil and China have banned the use of paraquat. However, the U.S. has yet to follow their lead, and American agricultural laborers continue to be exposed to this harmful herbicide to this day.

The Ferraro Law Firm’s Timeline 2007-2020 of Paraquat’s Link to health risks - Parkinson’s Disease

Early Signs of Paraquat-Related Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder that affects movement and the central nervous system. It is a progressive disease which means that symptoms typically worsen over time. 

There are five stages of Parkinson’s disease, with the fifth being the most advanced. In the earliest stages, symptoms are relatively minor and patients can typically continue daily activities without significant interruptions. Over time, symptoms become worse and movement more difficult.

Here is an overview of each of the five stages of Parkinson’s disease:

  1. Stage 1: Mild symptoms that generally do not interfere with daily activities and are sometimes not even noticeable. Tremors may be specific to one side of the body.
  2. Stage 2: Moderate symptoms. Tremors, stiffness, rigidity, and changes in posture may be more noticeable and appear on both sides of the body. Tasks and activities may take longer to complete.
  3. Stage 3: While patients are still able to live independently, symptoms become worse, and falls more common due to a lack of balance. Slowed movement is typical, and tasks like eating become more difficult.
  4. Stage 4: Patients may no longer be able to live alone, and require assistance to complete daily activities. Standing and walking may require use of a walker and other assistive devices.
  5. Stage 5: Walking or standing may no longer be possible at this stage, with patients being completely wheelchair-bound. 24/7 nursing care is typically required. Some patients may experience confusion and hallucinations.

Early symptoms of Parkinson’s typically affect movement and speech. Here are a few early signs that you should look for:

  • Involuntary tremors of the hands
  • Stiffness
  • Slow movement (also known as bradykinesia)
  • Impaired balance 
  • Changes in speech, including a soft voice
  • Changes in writing

How Parkinson’s Disease Can Affect Movement After Paraquat Exposure

Parkinson’s disease impairs the production of dopamine cells which are chemical messengers that control movement along with emotional responses. Since dopamine is impaired in patients with Parkinson’s disease, the most common symptoms they experience affect movement.

Parkinson’s commonly causes involuntary tremors (known as Dyskinesia) and sudden jerks. These can affect the arms, legs, face, or torso. Sometimes symptoms are specific to one side of the body. Parkinson’s may also cause impaired balance and posture, putting patients at risk of falling. 

As the disease progresses, patients will find it more and more difficult to perform daily activities without assistance. Falls may become more frequent, and individuals may struggle to perform tasks like brushing their teeth. When Parkinson’s reaches the most advanced stage (stage 5), patients will often require a wheelchair and full-time care. 

Other movement-related symptoms that are common among people with Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Facial masking: the inability to express emotion in facial expressions due to immobile facial muscles
  • Muscle cramping
  • Stooping and impaired posture
  • Dizziness
  • Freezing: Episodes can last for seconds or minutes, preventing movement

Non-Movement Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

In addition to affecting dopamine production, Parkinson’s disease also impairs norepinephrine: the chemical messenger of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system controls the body’s heart rate and blood pressure, which is why some people with Parkinson’s disease struggle with fatigue, sudden drops in blood pressure, and issues with digestion.

Other non-movement symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include the following:

  • Drooling
  • Constipation 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Loss of smell 
  • Anxiety and depression

Exposed to Paraquat? The Ferraro Law Firm Can Help You

The Ferraro Law Firm is no stranger to taking on the Big Chemical Industry. Our toxic tort attorneys have recovered millions of dollars against big chemical corporations, like DuPont.

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to a paraquat-containing herbicide, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers. This can help you recover compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Learn more today by scheduling a free legal consultation. You will only pay for our services if we win your case.

Paraquat Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is paraquat?
  • What is Parkinson’s disease?
  • Can paraquat cause Parkinson’s disease?
  • What are the early signs of Parkinson’s disease?
  • What are some common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
  • Do you qualify for paraquat compensation?