Paraquat is a highly toxic herbicide used to kill weeds and other vegetation. Although the acute effects of paraquat poisoning are well-established, new research shows that long-term, low-level exposure to paraquat can increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by tremors, loss of mobility, and other serious symptoms. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, and the effects of the disease can be debilitating.
The Whitley Law Firm is currently investigating cases of paraquat exposure resulting in Parkinson’s disease. Please contact a product liability attorney today to discuss your case. It won’t cost anything to see if we can help.
Who Is At Risk for Parkinson’s Disease from Paraquat?
Paraquat is commonly used in commercial agriculture to kill weeds and other types of vegetation that adversely affect crops. Because paraquat is so dangerous, use of the chemical in the United States is restricted to licensed applicators.
Licensed applicators spray liquid paraquat onto crops. Inhalation of small amounts of airborne particles over a long period of time can lead to accumulation of paraquat toxins in the body. Over time, paraquat exposure can damage neurons, resulting in Parkinson’s disease.
Anyone who works or formerly worked on a commercial farm that regularly uses paraquat herbicide may be at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. This includes:
- Machinery operators
- Maintenance workers
- Licensed applicators
Those who reside within the vicinity of farms that use paraquat may also be subject to airborne exposure. If you live or formerly lived near a farm that regularly applies paraquat herbicide, you may be at risk of Parkinson’s as well.
What Is the Connection Between Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease occurs when neurons (nerve cells) that produce dopamine are destroyed. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) that is essential for mobility, cognition, and other key processes in the brain.
Some people develop Parkinson’s disease as a result of genetic factors. In many other cases, however, toxic exposure is the culprit.
Research shows that inhaled paraquat toxins destroy dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. This can result in the development of Parkinson’s disease later in life, with symptoms potentially not arising until years after exposure.
What Are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease develops slowly over time. Symptoms may be minor at first but become more debilitating as the condition progresses.
The severity of Parkinson’s disease is categorized as follows:
Stage One of Parkinson’s Disease
Tremors may be present in the hands, face, jaw, and/or legs. These are generally restricted to one side of the body.
Patients may also experience difficulty walking, as well as unstable posture.
Stage Two of Parkinson’s Disease
Muscles become more rigid. This can result in a variety of movement-related symptoms, including:
- Limitations in facial movements and expression (sometimes called facial masking)
- Muscle cramps
- Involuntary twitching or writhing movements (dyskinesia)
Tremors are also more pronounced, affecting both sides of the body.
Stage Three of Parkinson’s Disease
Mobility becomes more difficult. Patients may walk with a shuffling gait, take short stutter steps instead of making full strides, and/or “freeze” while moving. This stage is also characterized by a condition known as bradykinesia, an overall slowness of movement that can affect activities ranging from walking to fine motor skills.
Poor balance combined with changes in walking movements result in an increased risk of falls.
Stage Four of Parkinson’s Disease
At this stage patients are often unable to live independently. They may be unable to walk without assistance or complete everyday tasks on their own.
Stage Five of Parkinson’s Disease
The most advanced stage leaves many patients confined to their beds. In addition to being physically incapacitated, cognitive difficulties can be present as well. Patients may have difficulty communicating, experience hallucinations, and even experience dementia-like symptoms.
Am I Entitled to Compensation If I Was Exposed to Paraquat and Developed Parkinson’s?
If you or a loved one developed Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to paraquat, you may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer. Multiple lawsuits have already been filed against makers of paraquat herbicides, including:
Attorneys at the Whitley Law Firm can pursue compensation on your behalf for all of the losses you and your family have sustained as a result of Parkinson’s disease linked to paraquat exposure. Damages that may be recovered in your case include:
- Medical expenses (current and future)
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses, such as walkers, wheelchairs, the cost of travel for medical appointments, home healthcare services, and more
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is devastating. Patients and their families can suffer years of physical, emotional, and financial hardship due to the challenges of the condition.
You should not have to face the burdens of Parkinson’s disease alone. It is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you were exposed to paraquat and suffered adverse effects.
Get the Whitley Advantage in Your Paraquat Claim
Attorneys at the Whitley Law Firm are distinguished by more than 80 years of combined experience representing injured people. We care deeply about our clients and work hard on their behalf to pursue the best possible outcome in each case.
Product liability is a complex area of law. Not every law firm has the experience, resources, and knowledge to represent consumers effectively when they have been injured by a defective product. The Whitley Law Firm has the ability and the willingness to take on large companies to get the compensation our clients deserve.
If you or a loved one suffered paraquat exposure and was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, call the Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 today for service in Raleigh, Kinston, New Bern, or elsewhere in North Carolina. It won’t cost anything to see if we can help.