Farmers in our nation have a reputation. Our nation views those who take on this profession as tough, hardy individuals that will push through anything mother nature can throw at them to take care of their crops or livestock.
But what if mother nature is not the one throwing the curve balls? What if corporations put our farmers in harm’s way for their own greedy benefit?
Unfortunately that is the situation in cases throughout the country. Farmers have realized that years and even decades of using a popular herbicide to protect their crops unwittingly led to their own injury. What’s even worse is this was a highly regulated herbicide — one that required training to use. Even when used correctly, farmers and those hired to help with application were at risk.
What is the herbicide?
The herbicide is known as paraquat, also known by the brand name Gramoxone and commonly used on soybean, corn and cotton fields. Swiss company Syngenta made the product and the chief distributor here in the United States was Chevron.
What can it cause?
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labeled the herbicide as “highly poisonous.” Only those with a license are allowed to purchase and use the product. We now know that exposure can result in Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder that results in shaking, stiffness and balance problems.
What are the options for farmers and others who used this product?
Parkinson’s is an incurable disorder that can quickly become costly to treat and manage. Syngenta has already paid over $187 million to settle a number of paraquat lawsuits, and more are coming.
Farmers are generally honorable and may hesitate to consider a lawsuit, but it is important to take this step. This is how our system allows individuals to hold large corporations accountable for their wrongdoing.