What Is Paraquat?
Paraquat is a commonly used weed killer in the U.S. Despite its high toxicity and ban in more than 30 countries, Paraquat remains a pesticide of choice in this country. Exposure can have life-long, even deadly, consequences.
Paraquat was introduced for use in the U.S. in the early 1960s. This toxin is used commercially for weed control and as a defoliant on certain crops before harvest.
Farming uses include:
- Row crops
- And vegetables
Who Is at Risk for Paraquat Exposure?
Licensed applicators and their co-workers are at the highest risk of Paraquat poisoning.
Accidental ingestion of Paraquat has resulted in at least 17 deaths since 2000. Another three people died – and many more suffered severe injuries – from getting the pesticide on their skin or in their eyes. There is no cure for Paraquat poisoning.
Immediate Symptoms of Paraquat Poisoning
Bare skin and eyes can easily be damaged by Paraquat, and the toxin can pose a significant injury if aerosolized drops are inhaled. Ingesting a sip can be fatal. If swallowed, death can quickly follow.
The following are symptoms of Paraquat poisoning:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea that may be bloody
Breathing or drinking Paraquat can lead to kidney and liver failure, lung scarring, and a buildup of fluid in the lungs. Paraquat damages anything it touches, like the lining of the mouth and stomach. You can become ill even if Paraquat touches your skin.
Long-Term Health Problems
Those who survive Paraquat poisoning will likely suffer life-long consequences.
Lung damage and organ failure are still possible. Scarring of the esophagus can make it difficult to swallow. Depression, reproductive issues, and certain cancers have also been associated with Paraquat.
Nervous system damage is another serious ramification. A study by the National Institutes of Health shows an association between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. People using this pesticide were 2.5 times more likely to develop the disease.
Specialized Training Mandated for Paraquat Users
The Environmental Protection Agency understands how dangerous Paraquat can be. The agency first classified it as a Restricted Use Pesticide in 1978, meaning it can only be applied by certified applicators.
Further restrictions were recently imposed. Anyone applying, mixing, or loading this dangerous chemical must complete mandatory training. The EPA also now requires “closed-system” packaging so the herbicide cannot be transferred in ways other than directly into proper application equipment.
Licensed applicators must wear personal protective equipment. The pesticide’s label has been changed to better highlight the dangers and risks of handling and applying paraquat.
The recent changes do not guarantee your protection from Paraquat exposure.
Know Your Rights
The personal and financial costs of toxic exposure to Paraquat can be devastating. If you or a loved one was injured by Paraquat, now is the time to take legal action.
At our injury law firm, we have more than 25 years of experience helping our clients pursue fair compensation and hold negligent individuals and businesses in Wisconsin responsible for their mistakes.
Have you or a loved one experienced Paraquat poisoning? Contact Casey Law Offices online or by phone at (414) 272-5564 to get started on your case today.