Paraquat is a dangerous herbicide that has been deemed in the United States for restricted use only and banned entirely in some countries including the European Union. In the US, only licensed applicators can use the product. Because paraquat is highly poisonous, the form that is marketed in the United States has a blue dye to keep it from being confused with beverages such as coffee, a sharp odor to serve as a warning, and an added agent to cause vomiting if someone drinks it. Paraquat from outside the United States may not have these safeguards added.
First introduced for commercial purposes in 1961, it is highly poisonous and dangerous to the extent that one should wonder why the product has not been banned entirely in the United States.
Paraquat can cause severe problems with the cardiovascular and respiratory systems including heart failure, liver failure, lung scarring, and kidney failure. If a person survives the toxic effects of paraquat poisoning, long-term lung damage (scarring) is highly likely. Other long-term effects may also occur, including kidney failure, heart failure, and esophageal strictures (scarring of the swallowing tube that makes it hard for a person to swallow). People with large ingestions of paraquat are not likely to survive.
Paraquat has also been associated with the onset of Parkinson’s disease, an irreversible neurological disorder. Prolonged, low-level inhalation of the common weed-killer Paraquat, implicated in the risk of Parkinson’s disease, caused male mice to lose at least some of their sense of smell, a study reports. The study, “Paraquat Inhalation, a Translationally Relevant Route of Exposure: Disposition to the Brain and Male-Specific Olfactory Impairment in Mice,” was published in the journal Toxicological Sciences.
Paraquat has been linked to a higher Parkinson’s risk by its association with that disorder among agricultural workers exposed to this pesticide and through studies showing that it can kill dopamine-producing neurons in mice. The loss of these neurons is a key event driving Parkinson’s progression.
Serving Victims of Paraquat Nationwide
If you, or a loved one, have been exposed to Paraquat, you should seek medical attention immediately and call the New York lawyers at Rheingold, Giuffra, Plotkin, and Ruffo for a free initial consultation.