The Walkup paraquat lawsuit attorneys Michael Kelly, Khaldoun Baghdadi, Sara Peters, and Justin Chou, in association with Korein Tillery of St. Louis, have filed the first California lawsuits alleging harm from exposure to the herbicide Paraquat. These lawsuits allege that long-term exposure to Paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease in agricultural workers as well as people who live near fields where the chemical is applied. Paraquat is sprayed both by tractor-drawn rigs and crop-dusting airplanes and helicopters.
Paraquat Lawsuit Complaint PDF
PARAQUAT LITIGATION COMMENCED IN STATE COURT
First sold in the United States in the early 1960s, paraquat was used by the United State in aerial attacks on Mexican heroin poppy and marijuana fields in the 1970s. It was used for that task because it is a “non-selective” herbicide which kills green leafy plants on contact. Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) first developed and marketed Paraquat for use as an agricultural tool for killing weeds or for processing crops that do not rely on their leafy parts, like cotton and almonds. ICI and Chevron ultimately reached an agreement to make Chevron the exclusive distributor of Paraquat in the United States. In 1986, this agreement came to an end and ICI (which exists now as a part of the Swiss company Syngenta) began selling paraquat in the U.S. Paraquat has been sold under many brand names including “Ortho,” “Ortho Plus,” and “Gramoxone.” To this day, Syngenta continues to sell paraquat to American farmers.
Around the world, Paraquat is banned in 32 countries. It has been on the banned substances list in England and throughout the European Union since 2013 Ironically, while Paraquat is produced by Swiss manufacturer Syngenta, use of the herbicide has been banned in Switzerland since 1989. China announced in 2012 that it would begin to phase out Paraquat to “safeguard people’s lives”. All of its production is now exported.
Monsanto’s Grip On Pesticides
In the U.S. Paraquat is a popular alternative to Monsanto’s Roundup which has long been a preferred herbicidal agent for American agricultural workers, but as weeds and pests became more resistant to it farmers turned to alternative herbicides to treat their crops. All Paraquat products are Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), meaning only licensed applicators are able to purchase and use the herbicide. All applicators must be “licensed in accordance with EPA regulations and state, territorial and tribal laws.”
In March 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a regulatory filing that they would be further exploring the possible health risks associated with Paraquat.
In the announcement, the agency said, “There is a large body of epidemiology data on Paraquat dichloride use and Parkinson’s disease.” The EPA plans to decide whether to place Paraquat on the banned substance or continue to allow the chemical to be sprayed on US cropland, but a final decision is not expected until 2020. The documents generated in the EPA review can be found in docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0855 located at www.regulations.gov.
Effects of Paraquat On Humans
Although the acute poisonous properties of Paraquat are well-known (drinking a teaspoon of Paraquat can easily kill an adult), exposure to mist or microscopic droplets of Paraquat can also devastate the human nervous system. Paraquat kills plants by causing “oxidative stress”: breaking oxygen atoms free from the molecules of living cells it comes in contact with, destroying those cells on a molecular level. When a person breathes Paraquat mist, or Paraquat is absorbed through the skin, it travels through the lungs, the olfactory bulb (the part of your body that drives your sense of smell), the skin, or the stomach and damages a part of the brain called the substantia nigra pars compacta.
The substantia nigra pars compacta create dopamine—a neurotransmitter. When animals are exposed to Paraquat, the number of dopamine-creating cells in their brains is depleted. Researchers believe the same effect occurs when humans breathe or absorb Paraquat.
In humans, the reduction of dopamine-creating cells is one of the hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease. Dopamine is one of the compounds the brain uses to communicate messages within the brain and to other parts of the human body as a whole. When these dopamine-generating neurons are killed, the body is unable to maintain healthy levels of dopamine, confounding many of the brain’s functions. Common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include resting tremors, slow or poor muscular control, shuffling gait, difficulty speaking at a normal volume, and dementia
Contact a Paraquat Attorney in San Francisco Today!
If you have been exposed to Paraquat and subsequently developed Parkinson’s disease or signs of ongoing developing Parkinson’s, you may have legal rights that have been violated. The law firm of Walkup Melodia Kelly and Schoenberger is available today for a free, no-obligation Paraquat lawsuit consultation.
The lawsuits filed by Walkup Melodia Kelly and Schoenberger allege that Syngenta, Chevron, and others involved in the process of manufacturing, marketing, and distributing Paraquat are liable for causing or contributing to the development of Parkinson’s disease in citizens living in the Central and San Joaquin valleys.
The first-filed cases are awaiting Judicial Council Coordination in Contra Costa County Superior Court. Clients or associate counsel wishing more information regarding the Paraquat litigation should contact Mike Kelly, Khaldoun Baghdadi, Sara Peters or Justin Chou.