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Farmers and agricultural workers who have been exposed to the herbicide Paraquat may have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat is a toxic chemical more commonly known by brand names like Gramoxone, Parazone, Blanco, Firestorm, Quick-Quat, or Cyclone. These dangerous products are the reason for numerous settlement compensation payouts. Because of the direct connection between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, we encourage you to consider seeking legal representation to help you hold companies accountable for your loved one’s herbicide exposure.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative 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.
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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.
You need to work with Paraquat lawsuit experts. While Paraquat is a restricted-use herbicide, the risk of environmental exposure remains. The dangers and harmful side effects of Paraquat are well documented. Paraquat manufacturers understand the risk of direct exposure causing non-motor symptoms as well as medical conditions such as heart failure, kidney disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Regardless of the potential link harming so many Americans, manufacturers continue to produce the toxic herbicide and risk disease after exposure.
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 exposure to Paraquat 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 its lead, and American agricultural laborers continue to face long-term exposure to this harmful herbicide to this day.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stage 4: Patients may no longer be able to live alone, and require assistance to complete daily activities. Standing and walking may require the use of a walker and other assistive devices.
- 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
- 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, such as muscle weakness, 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
- 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:
- Constipation and other gastrointestinal symptoms
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of smell
- Anxiety and depression
- Respiratory failure
Long-Term Effects of Paraquat Exposure
In addition to Parkinson’s disease, the most serious effect of Paraquat exposure is the potential for permanent damage to the lungs and esophagus. This damage is due to scarring or inflammation caused by the poisoning. It can create long-term respiratory ailments such as pulmonary fibrosis, which is an irreversible form of lung tissue damage. Additionally, esophageal strictures can occur due to scarring that makes swallowing difficult for the patient. Other symptoms from long-term exposure include liver failure, kidney failure, skin rashes, internal bleeding, headaches, abdominal pain, and nausea. So, if you are exposed to paraquat or have been previously exposed to it, make sure you speak with your doctor about possible long-term effects on your health.
What is Considered a Dangerous Level of Paraquat Exposure?
Paraquat is an incredibly toxic chemical, and even small exposures can cause significant harm. Exposure to paraquat through ingestion or contact with the skin can be particularly dangerous because it quickly absorbs into the body and disrupts normal cellular functions. Even just one teaspoon of paraquat ingestion can result in death, which demonstrates just how powerful this chemical is.
If you have come into contact with paraquat without proper safety equipment, it is important to be aware of the potential effects of exposure. While many individuals may experience no immediate effects at that time, they must still keep a close eye on their health to detect any potential long-term problems such as Parkinson’s disease or other neurodegenerative conditions. If any unusual symptoms arise, seeking medical treatment is advised so a diagnosis can be made and suitable treatment administered.
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
Does Paraquat exposure cause Parkinson’s?
Scientific studies have shown that being exposed to Paraquat has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
What is Paraquat used for?
Paraquat is used to kill weeds and desiccate crops before harvest. It is commonly used on corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat, and hay crops.