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Paraquat FAQs: Everything You Need to Know About Paraquat

Author
Alicia Betz
May 11, 2022

Herbicides are often used on crops to prevent the growth of weeds and grasses. These strong chemicals are very effective at killing weeds, but they have the potential to cause harm to humans as well. One of these chemicals, paraquat, is so strong that it can only be used by certified applicators. 

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If you believe that you or a loved one were harmed by Paraquat exposure, you may be entitled to compensation.

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After working with the chemical, some applicators and others working near the application site have developed Parkinson’s Disease. Because there is evidence linking paraquat to Parkinson’s Disease, those who are affected have sought legal action. If you believe you or a loved one developed Parkinson’s after being exposed to paraquat, read below to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease. 

What is paraquat?

Paraquat is a toxic chemical herbicide that has been in use in the United States since 1961. It usually comes in liquid form and is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as restricted use. This means that only certain people called certified applicators can use the chemical. They must be trained in proper handling techniques to prevent exposure to themselves and others. 

The chemical is so toxic, in fact, that it has multiple added safeguards to discourage accidental ingestion. The liquid is dyed blue, it has a strong smell, and it has an added emetic to induce vomiting if ingested. Despite the dangers, parquet is very commonly used across the United States. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), paraquat can cause kidney failure, liver failure, lung scarring, seizures, muscle weakness, and more. Exposure to the chemical often leads to long-term health problems, and ingestion of the chemical often causes death. 

What is paraquat used for?

Paraquat is often used by farmers in the United States to kill weeds and grass. This helps their crop yield by only allowing the intended plant to grow. It can also be used to desiccate (dry) crops during harvesting. The chemical is very widely used in agricultural areas, but it is not available to the average consumer. Because it’s a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP), it can only be used by a trained certified applicator. 

Because the chemical is so dangerous, certified applicators must take precautions to protect themselves. If they were to even get some of the liquid on their skin, protocol dictates that they should remove their clothing, immediately wash their entire body, and seek medical care.

While it is not used in residential areas, it can be used on farms and other agricultural areas that are near homes. Those who live in an area rife with farmland may inadvertently be exposed to paraquat.  

What products contain paraquat?

The most popular weed-killing product containing paraquat is Gramoxone. Other products include:

  • AH 501
  • Bai Cao Ku
  • Blanco
  • Bonedry
  • Crisquat
  • Cyclone SL 2.0
  • Devour
  • Dexuron
  • Esgram
  • Firestorm
  • Gramixel
  • Gramuron
  • Helmquat 3SL
  • Ortho Paraquat CL
  • Para-col
  • Para-Shot 3.0
  • Parazone
  • Pillarxone
  • PP148
  • Quick-Quat
  • Tota-col
  • Toxer Total

These products, which are made by different manufacturers, contain paraquat to varying degrees. 

Is paraquat in Roundup?

Paraquat is not the herbicide used in the popular weed-killing product Roundup. Roundup uses a chemical called glyphosate to kill weeds and grasses. Glyphosate has been linked to cancer — most notably non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma — in those who have used or been exposed to the chemical.

Although paraquat and glyphosate are both dangerous herbicides, paraquat is more toxic than glyphosate. Roundup is used in residential areas and can be purchased by the average consumer. If you’ve sprayed weed killer around your home, you were likely using glyphosate, not paraquat. Products containing paraquat are restricted use only, so you won’t find them at your local nursery or home improvement store. 

What crops is paraquat used on?

Paraquat is commonly used to kill grasses and weeds in many agricultural areas throughout the United States. This means it may be sprayed on any number of crops, including: 

  • Hay
  • Alfalfa
  • Grapes
  • Orchards
  • Rice
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Cotton
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans
  • Corn

The chemical can also be used to dry crops during harvesting. These crops may include cotton and marijuana. 

Does paraquat cause Parkinsonism?

Paraquat has been linked to Parkinson’s Disease, which is the most common and arguably the most well-known type of Parkinsonism. Despite the connection and the many people who have developed Parkinsonism after being exposed to paraquat, a concrete causal relationship between the two has not yet been established and recognized by any government agency. 

According to the EPA, “There are many studies on paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease that range in quality and provide conflicting results. Following EPA’s 2019 literature review, an updated study of the Agricultural Health Study cohort was published in 2020 that reported no association between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s Disease.” Nonetheless, scientists continue to study the link between paraquat and Parkinsonism. 

While the EPA has not yet concluded that there is a clear connection between the two, a meta analysis of the research has found a statistically significant connection. The authors of this study recommend that further studies examine the link between paraquat and Parkinsonism. 

What is the paraquat lawsuit about?

Many people believe that exposure to paraquat caused them or their loved one’s Parkinson’s Disease. Since 2017, lawsuits have been mounting against the many paraquat manufacturers. Some manufacturers of paraquat include Syngenta; Chevron Chemical Company; Adama Group; Altitude Crop Innovations, LLC; Drexel Chemical Company; United Phosphorous; Helm Agro; Sinon USA, Inc.; and Innvictis Crop Care LLC.

The plaintiffs with Parkinson’s Disease claim that they were not adequately warned about the dangers of the chemical. They are suing for personal injury, product liability, and negligence. Most of the people who have been affected have either applied paraquat themselves or worked in an area where the chemical was applied. However, some of the people affected either lived near an area that used paraquat or in the same house as someone who applied paraquat.

Those who have filed paraquat lawsuits are hoping for — and are entitled to — financial compensation from paraquat manufacturers. 

Has the paraquat lawsuit reached a settlement?

There has not yet been a settlement in the paraquat lawsuit. In fact, these lawsuits are still in the early stages, and people who believe they may have been affected are encouraged to come forth. Paraquat lawyers are ready to help affected people file a claim so they can fight for justice for their injuries.

Free Case Evaluation

If you believe that you or a loved one were harmed by Paraquat exposure, you may be entitled to compensation.

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