Paraquat, a highly toxic restricted use pesticide

By Shaniqua Williams

Posted on March 07th, 2021

Because paraquat is a very toxic herbicide, the Environmental Protection Agency requires people who mix, load, and apply it to undergo rigorous training before working with the product. The purpose of the training is to offer essential information concerning the toxicity of paraquat and the consequences of misuse.

For the last 60 years, paraquat, which is sold under numerous brand names, has been used for weed and grass control throughout the United States, as it is a very effective herbicide. However, it is also highly toxic and exposure can be fatal even if a small dose is involved. For this reason, the Environmental Protection Agency made it mandatory for workers who mix, load, and apply paraquat to undergo extensive training, which teaches them about the dangers of paraquat, the new label requirements, and restrictions, as well as the consequences of misuse. The Paraquat Dichloride Human Health Mitigation Decision, which requires people who handle paraquat to undergo training, came into effect in February of 2017. It is a part of the risk mitigation endeavors of the agency.

Since 2000, there have been 17 people who lost their lives to paraquat poisoning, 3 of whom were children, the route of exposure being ingestion. These deaths were the result of the pesticide being illegally transferred to beverage containers and subsequently mistaken for a drink. A single sip of paraquat can be fatal. Furthermore, in addition to the 17 people whose lives were claimed by paraquat poisoning, numerous others have suffered serious injuries following paraquat inhalation and skin contact. To prevent such tragedies, the Environmental Protection Agency requires special training for certified applicators who use paraquat. One of the goals of the paraquat training is to reinforce that the herbicide must not be transferred to or stored in improper containers. Thereby, people who are willing to perform the following activities, which involve paraquat, have to undergo the training provided by the agency:

  • mixing paraquat
  • loading paraquat
  • transporting opened paraquat containers
  • storing opened paraquat containers
  • applying paraquat
  • cleaning equipment used to apply paraquat
  • disposing of excess paraquat
  • disposing of spray mix
  • disposing of paraquat containers

It is worthy of note that people cannot use paraquat even if they are under the supervision of a certified applicator. Therefore, only people who have undergone the training offered by the Environmental Protection Agency can use paraquat and perform activities related to the herbicide. According to the law, the training must be retaken every 3 years if the person intends to continue using paraquat. If the licensed applicator of paraquat makes a mistake with regard to the activities involving the pesticide, they will be held responsible for their negligence.

Paraquat exposure can lead to Parkinson's disease in agricultural workers

The majority of licensed applicators of paraquat are agricultural workers, as they have to protect their crops from weeds. Because weeds are becoming more and more resistant to glyphosate, often sold under the brand name Roundup, which is another popular toxic herbicide, the use of paraquat is expected to increase considerably within the following years. Some of the crops paraquat is applied to are:

  • cotton
  • peanut
  • soybeans
  • vegetables
  • potatoes
  • sugarcane

The increase in the use of paraquat will eventually bring about a larger number of people who struggle with Parkinson's disease, as agricultural workers who employ this herbicide have a 250% higher risk of developing this condition than individuals who do not use it. Consequently, agricultural workers must wear appropriate protective equipment when using paraquat so as to avoid inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion of the pesticide. Unfortunately, even if they take the necessary preventive measures, some agricultural workers may still come to struggle with Parkinson's disease, as paraquat is highly toxic, and using it on a regular basis unavoidably leads to exposure.

If you have a family member who uses or used paraquat, you should keep a close eye on their health and look for the symptoms of Parkinson's disease over the years, which include tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slowness of movement and impaired balance and coordination, which often results in falls. In the regrettable case you have a family member who developed the condition as a result of using or being around paraquat, please contact our law firm, as we specialize in toxic exposure cases and will be able to help them recover the financial compensation they deserve from the liable manufacturers.

Quality assistance for people injured by paraquat exposure

With over 25 years of experience in pursuing compensation on behalf of victims of toxic exposure, our attorneys are ready to provide you with quality legal assistance if you or a family member developed Parkinson's disease as a consequence of frequent paraquat exposure. Our legal team specializes in toxic exposure and thereby has the necessary knowledge and resources to recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to from the responsible manufacturers of paraquat. While the legal process is complex and tedious, it will require minimal involvement on your part, as we are aware that most of our clients are in great physical and emotional pain. Eventually, you will obtain the most favorable outcome for your case if you decide to file a paraquat claim with the help of our legal experts. For additional information, please feel free to contact us and we will gladly answer your questions.