May 18th, 2021
Deadly Paraquat Herbicide Linked to Parkinson’s Disease
By now many of us have probably become aware of the human health impacts of Bayer’s Roundup weed killer and its association with causing certain types of cancer. But another popular weed killer, paraquat dichloride, has been in the news lately over its potent toxicity and the reluctance of its manufacturer, Syngenta, to make a safer formulation. Paraquat has long been recognized as extremely hazardous. In fact, the U.S. EPA advises that a single, accidental sip of paraquat can kill a human being, and there is no antidote. Because of its extreme toxicity, use of paraquat in the European Union was banned in 2007 and Switzerland, where Syngenta is headquartered, banned the chemical back in 1989. Here in America, the EPA restricts the use of paraquat to certified landscapers and farmers.
Paraquat acts as a kind of “scorched earth” herbicide. In the U.S., it is often used to destroy all plant and grass growth on farms, typically between planting of desired crops to eliminate the need for time-consuming tilling of the land. But recent scientific research has linked paraquat to an increased risk for development of Parkinson’s disease. This research is compelling due to its focus on the mechanisms involved in the development of Parkinson’s disease and the manner in which paraquat impacts those mechanisms.
Despite the devastating harms associated with paraquat exposure, the product retains widespread use in America. And the recent discovery of internal company documents reveals that Syngenta has been aware of paraquat’s potential for toxicity for decades while repeatedly refusing to make formulation changes to make paraquat safer for end users. These documents, which go all the way back to 1968, show that Syngenta and its predecessor companies rejected or resisted many different options for changes to the formulations of its paraquat product. These companies repeatedly cited financial concerns amongst their reasons for resisting changes to paraquat formulations. As a result, there is growing concern amongst the medical and scientific communities that many people may have been injured from exposure to paraquat. If you believe you may be among those who have been harmed through exposure to Syngenta herbicides, you should contact an experienced law firm right away to explore your rights.