Chemical mixers employed in the agriculture industry are at high risk for exposure to paraquat

By Shaniqua Williams

Posted on March 15th, 2021

Pesticides might improve crop yield and productivity, but also lead to short-term adverse health effects, as well as chronic adverse effects that can occur after exposure. Exposure to certain pesticides, such as paraquat was found to greatly increase the risk of Parkinson's disease among pesticide mixers.

While herbicides like paraquat can help prevent weed and grass growth, they can also cause dangerous health problems when agricultural workers are exposed to them. In some cases, exposure happens because employees are not provided with the proper safety equipment, like goggles, gloves, helmets, or bodysuits. Sometimes this equipment is damaged or defective, putting workers who mix, load, or apply paraquat-based products at greater risk of exposure.

According to the most recent scientific studies, paraquat increases the likelihood of an exposed person developing Parkinson's disease. The effect is dose-dependent; and when combined with other factors, such as genetic disposition, the risk is even greater. Many paraquat manufacturers, like the Swiss company Syngenta, have chosen to ignore this evidence and keep manufacturing the highly toxic herbicide to export to the United States, even after their own countries have banned its use.

Parkinson's disease patients whose illness is attributable to paraquat exposure are eligible for seeking compensation from the liable manufacturers. Filing a compensation claim can be complex; some claims are initially denied or delayed, but a claimant has every right to seek the help of an experienced legal practitioner in order to receive well-deserved compensation.

Parkinson's disease risk remains too great, even for licensed chemical mixers

It's been determined by the Environmental Protection Agency that the primary exposure occurs during the mixing, loading, and application process. The agency also suggested that the risk of exposure is additionally possible for those who are in close proximity to paraquat at the time of mixing and/or application.

Chemical mixers employed in the agriculture industry are at high risk for exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals often used in this particular line of work, such as paraquat. There is some degree of exposure and risk every time you use pesticides such as paraquat; a splash onto unprotected skin while pouring a pesticide or diluting it with water can cause dermal exposure. You may experience direct exposure by inhaling small droplets of paraquat in an open cab or making contact with the spray mix while repairing clogged nozzles.

The most common injury associated with paraquat is Parkinson's disease, a debilitating nervous system disorder that affects as many as 60,000 people in the United States annually and it appears that many of these cases may have been avoided if adequate health warnings had been provided.

What chemical mixers need to know about paraquat:

  • Paraquat is a Restricted Use Pesticide, and users must be certified to mix, handle and apply it;
  • There are various generic formulations of paraquat; some products have 2 pounds of active ingredient per gallon and others have 3 pounds;
  • Paraquat is a very toxic chemical; the dermal and inhalation routes are likely to be the most important routes of paraquat exposure;
  • Paraquat poisoning is also possible after skin exposure through a splash or mist of it or when workers touch clothing, equipment, or surfaces that contain pesticide residue;
  • Fatal poisoning occurs mostly when chemical absorption through the skin is increased after prolonged contact with undiluted or diluted paraquat solution;
  • There has been a steady flow of epidemiological studies documenting a positive association between occupational exposure to paraquat and Parkinson's disease occurrence;
  • Increasing evidence suggests that there is a link between paraquat and Parkinson's disease, even when precautions are taken and recommends are followed;
  • Paraquat residues can be tracked into the home on shoes and boots.

We are evaluating cases for mixers of paraquat products with a confirmed diagnosis of Parkinson's disease

If you were exposed to paraquat as a chemical mixer and developed Parkinson's disease you may be entitled to compensation for lost income, medical expenses, and the unnecessary pain and suffering you've had to endure. There is a limited amount of time to pursue compensation so it is best to contact us as soon as you've received your diagnosis. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there is no charge for your consultation and there are no fees or costs unless we recover the compensation you deserve.