Individuals living around farming communities exposed to paraquat are at risk of developing Parkinson's disease

By Shaniqua Williams

Posted on March 12th, 2021

Pesticides sprayed on crops become airborne during application and can drift to distance. Breathing in "paraquat drift" when the wind spreads droplets of the chemical from the crops to neighboring communities can lead to Parkinson's disease. We help residents living near paraquat-treated agricultural lands to file a claim.

Paraquat drift is an insidious threat to human health and ecosystems in and around agricultural areas where these harsh chemicals are used to kill annual and perennial weeds. The biggest risk from paraquat drift is to those living, working, or attending schools near commercial farms that employ elevated spraying equipment or crop duster planes to apply paraquat to crops and fields.

Children are especially vulnerable to these pesticides, given that their young bodies are less able to metabolize toxic substances within their systems. Studies have shown that the risk of developing Parkinson's disease can increase by 200 to 600 percent for people exposed to paraquat at a younger age - in their teen or young adult years - depending on their length of exposure. The likelihood of becoming ill from exposure to paraquat depends on a number of factors including:

  • the amount of paraquat you were exposed to
  • the concentration of paraquat in a formulation
  • the duration of exposure
  • the route of entry into the body - dermal, ingestion, or inhalation

According to the nonprofit Pesticide Action Network (PAN), 95-98 percent of applied pesticides miss their intended mark, reaching nearby communities, wildlife, waterways, and soil instead. Besides this "spray drift," PAN also warns of so-called "volatilization drift" whereby pesticides can volatilize - form a vapor - for hours or days after application, allowing them to travel through the air and deposit away from the target area.

Even the most cautious and responsible paraquat sprayer cannot control what happens to the micro-drops the moment they are released from his plane or tractor, and when conditions are right, these fine spray droplets can end up, for example, settling on the skin of someone who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Paraquat exposure within only about 550 yards of a home may increase Parkinson's risk by 75%, study says

Residents living near agricultural farms growing food crops experience elevated rates of chronic diseases; this is the conclusion from a recent report summarizing 35 peer-reviewed medical studies on this topic over the past three decades. Scientists believe the increased rates of these fatal illnesses occur from pesticides applied to food crops which then evaporate into the atmosphere. Fine spray droplets remain suspended on air currents for long periods of time and can be carried far outside of the agricultural area.

Several medical conditions were found to occur at higher rates among families living close to agriculture. This included higher rates of:

  • birth defects
  • autism
  • infertility
  • miscarriage
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • developmental brain injury
  • cancers including leukemia, neuroblastoma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Pesticides sprayed on agricultural land, and in urban areas, become airborne during application and can drift to different distances and also can move up to higher altitudes, thousands of kilometers away. To exemplify, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2009, revealed that exposure to paraquat within 1,600 feet of a home increased the risk of Parkinson's disease by 75 percent.

Parkinson's disease, which affects an estimated 60,000 Americans each year, is a progressive and incurable disease that involves the destruction of brain cells that produce dopamine, an important message-carrying chemical linked with movement. The disease starts out with a barely noticeable tremor, and slowly worsens over time; patients will require a wheelchair and may be bedridden. There is no cure for Parkinson's disease, but medication is available to help patients deal with their symptoms and maintain the quality of life.

Call our team if you or someone you know shows signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease after using paraquat

If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease from paraquat exposure, you should contact us immediately for a free case consultation. Parkinson's disease is one of the most concerning risks associated with paraquat as its makers have failed to ensure that farmworkers exposed to the weed killer, and people living nearby farming communities, were adequately warned about the risk of Parkinson's disease. As such, if you are a resident living close to agricultural lands and have been adversely affected by paraquat herbicide you may be eligible to recover money for:

  • past and future medical expenses
  • past and future loss of earnings
  • pain and suffering

When an individual suspects that there may be potential health issues from pesticide exposure they should seek treatment as soon as possible. While getting immediate medical help is obviously vital, it also ensures that details of your injuries, the circumstances, and treatment received will be noted on your medical records. These can be used when pursuing compensation.

With over 25 years of experience in pursuing compensation on behalf of victims of toxic exposure, we are very proud of our legal achievements but equally self-respecting of our firm's reputation for providing personal attention to each client we help.