Paraquat is an herbicide used by farmers throughout the country on crops. The product is not new. It has been in circulation for decades. We know the stuff is dangerous. There are warning labels all over and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a single sip could be poisonous enough to kill.
What we did not know was that exposure could lead to other, long-term effects like the development of Parkinson’s or that we could reduce this risk by taking steps to protect ourselves when using this product.
Why would this lead to a lawsuit? Don’t we already expect these products to be dangerous?
We expect products like paraquat to work as intended. We expect the manufacturers behind the product to do what they can to keep the product safe and to let us know if there is a potential problem. When they fail to do this, our legal system provides the tools we need to hold them accountable.
The problem with paraquat is that it appears Syngenta, a manufacturer of paraquat products, was aware the product could cause diseases like Parkinson’s and failed to take steps to increase the safety of the formula.
Even worse, news outlets have reported that there are documents that show the manufacturer was aware of the risk of developing Parkinson’s and took steps to hide this information from the public.
What does this mean for those who used paraquat?
If these claims are true, those who used and were exposed to paraquat may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible. Agricultural workers were exposed to this product in many ways. When workers sprayed the product, they were at risk of breathing it in. The workers’ bodies would also absorb the mist when it landed on their skin.
Although the manufacturers push back against the claim that there is a link between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s, there is solid evidence to support the connection. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease in humans exposed to paraquat. This evidence serves as an important piece in the puzzle that gets us one step closer to holding these mega-corporations accountable for failing to protect consumers. Now consumers can take the next step and use the legal tools like a product liability claim to make sure corporations bear responsibility for their actions.