Paraquat Lawsuit: A Comprehensive Guide (2024)

Gene Glarosh


Reviewed By Adam Ramirez, J.D.


Read in 5 mins

Paraquat is a highly toxic chemical that has been used as an herbicide on commercial farms since the 1960s. It is an active ingredient in Blanco, Firestorm, Devour, and many other agricultural-grade herbicides. Because of the health risks associated with Paraquat (most commonly Parkinson’s Disease), it has been banned in dozens of countries but is still widely used in the US with a valid license.

Paraquat Lawsuit Updates

  1. Slow Growth in Paraquat MDL
  2. Objections to Dismissal Over Due PAQs

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Health Risks Of Paraquat

Since its introduction into agricultural settings, many people were unknowingly exposed to Paraquat and were later diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease or other long-term health issues. In some situations, a person may have been knowingly exposed to Paraquat but was not informed of the risks.

As a result of these risks, several class-action and individual lawsuits have been initiated for victims of exposure to Paraquat to seek damages. As of February 2024, there are over 6,000 total individual suits filed in both Illinois and Pennsylvania. A Bellwether trial is expected at some point this year. The defendants in these lawsuits are primarily manufacturers such as Chevron, Syngenta, Adma, Helm, and Drexel.

What is the Paraquat Lawsuit?

Paraquat, a widely used herbicide, has come under intense scrutiny in recent years due to its alleged association with serious health risks. This chemical compound, known scientifically as N,N′-dimethyl-4,4′-bipyridinium dichloride, has been a staple in agricultural practices since the 1960s. However, its high toxicity levels have led to mounting concerns and a wave of lawsuits aimed at holding manufacturers and distributors accountable for the harm allegedly caused by Paraquat exposure.

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What is Paraquat?

Paraquat, developed primarily by Syngenta and Chevron and manufactured by several companies nationally and abroad, is a highly effective herbicide primarily used to control weeds and unwanted vegetation in agricultural settings. Its fast-acting nature and broad-spectrum control make it a popular choice among farmers and agricultural workers worldwide. Paraquat works by disrupting photosynthesis in plants upon contact, effectively killing them within days of application.

Despite its effectiveness, Paraquat is classified as a restricted-use pesticide in the United States due to its high toxicity. It is only available to certified applicators who have undergone specific training on handling and application procedures to minimize risks.

What are the health risks associated with Paraquat?

The controversy surrounding Paraquat stems from its potential health hazards, particularly upon human exposure. The herbicide is known to be highly toxic, with even small amounts posing significant risks to human health. Paraquat poisoning can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact, with symptoms ranging from mild irritation to severe poisoning and even death.

Acute Paraquat poisoning can lead to a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, and organ failure. Ingestion of even a small amount of Paraquat can be fatal, making it a highly dangerous substance.

Most notably, studies have suggested a potential link between Paraquat exposure and the development of Parkinson's disease. Research conducted on both animals and humans has found correlations between Paraquat exposure and an increased risk of developing Parkinson's, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor impairment and cognitive decline. As a result, Paraquat has been banned in dozens of countries worldwide in the last few years, including the EU and China, and several lawsuits (both class-action and individual) have been filed in the US where Paraquat is still widely used.

Who can file a claim?

Individuals who have been adversely affected by Paraquat exposure, either through direct contact or environmental exposure, may be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturers and distributors of Paraquat-based herbicides. These include farmers, agricultural workers, pesticide applicators, individuals working in manufacturing plants, and even residents living in close proximity to agricultural areas where Paraquat is used. Litigation will be primarily looking at the connection between negligent application of Paraquat and the development or risk of Parkinson’s and other certain diseases.

In addition to individual lawsuits, there have been efforts to consolidate Paraquat litigation through multidistrict litigation (MDL) or class-action lawsuits. These mechanisms allow multiple plaintiffs with similar claims to streamline the legal process and pursue compensation collectively.

The Paraquat lawsuits not only provide an opportunity for plaintiffs to claim well-deserved compensation, but they also highlight the growing awareness and concern surrounding the health risks associated with agricultural chemicals and the need for stricter regulation and oversight in their use. As more evidence emerges linking Paraquat exposure to adverse health outcomes, the pressure on manufacturers and regulatory agencies to address these concerns continues to mount.

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Paraquat Lawsuit Settlements & Payouts (2024)

Paraquat exposure can result in long-lasting and invasive symptoms. If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease or another condition as a result of Paraquat exposure, you may be entitled to significant damages as a result of the suffering you’ve endured.

How much can you get from the Paraquat lawsuit?

Paraquat settlement amounts typically range from $100,000 to $150,000 dollars, however, these amounts are not fixed. If you’ve endured significant suffering as a result of Paraquat exposure and the connection between your medical condition and your exposure to Paraquat is clearly defined, you may have a chance at securing even higher settlement amounts.

Factors That Determine Paraquat Settlement Amounts

There are several factors which could either increase or decrease the amount an individual may earn in a settlement against Paraquat manufacturing companies and applicators acting in negligence. The litigation will be looking at the following factors:

Extent of Injury or Illness

The severity of the plaintiff's illness or injury is a significant factor in determining settlement amounts. Plaintiffs who have suffered more severe health effects, such as Parkinson's disease or other debilitating conditions, may be entitled to higher settlements to compensate for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Medical Expenses

Plaintiffs may receive compensation for past and future medical expenses related to their illness or injury. This can include costs for doctor visits, hospitalizations, medications, rehabilitation therapy, and other medical treatments necessitated by Paraquat exposure.

Lost Wages and Future Earning Capacity

If Paraquat exposure has caused the plaintiff to miss work or if it is expected to impact their ability to work in the future, they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and diminished earning capacity.

Pain and Suffering

Plaintiffs may receive compensation for physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish caused by their illness or injury. The amount awarded for pain and suffering is often subjective and may vary based on the specific circumstances of the case.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The interval between exposure to paraquat and the development of symptoms can widely vary. However, some studies show that the symptoms of Parkinson's disorder start seeing after several years of exposure. Whereas, one can not ignore the sensitive factors like a person's sensitivity, genes, health concerns, and such other entities that can affect the period.

  • Paraquat is generally an herbicide for farms and agriculture settings. However, it does not have direct usage in the maintenance of residential gardens and yards. There is very less chance that homeowners request to use paraquat in the maintenance of their yard rather than a common, less toxic herbicide for special use for this purpose.

  • Yes, Parkinson's disorder can also be caused by other factors like genetic variation, age, and environmental toxins exposure. However, paraquat is more likely to increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disorder in oneself. Therefore, it's crucial to consider some other factors that may cause this disease in the members of a family.

  • Until now, Parkinson's disease does not have any cure yet. However, several medications and treatments have been introduced to control and lessen the symptoms, enhancing life durability and decreasing the development of ailment in some scenarios.

  • Paraquat releases its neurotoxic impacts due to the development of oxidative stress and ROS. However, this leads to brain cell damage which includes dopamine-generating neurons sensitive to Parkinson's disorder. Moreover, the exact procedure for paraquat impacts the brain is quite complex and is still under research.

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