Paraquat Exposure Linked to Parkinson’s Disease


If you have worked on a farm or in the landscaping industry, you may have been exposed to a chemical called paraquat.  Paraquat is a weed killer used in the United States since the 1960s.  Because it is so toxic, you need a commercial license to use paraquat, therefore, it is typically only used by farmers and professional landscapers.  It is unlikely it was used in a residential landscaping setting.

Paraquat is highly toxic.  It is known by the brand name Gramoxone and is manufactured primarily by Chevron.  It is one of the most common herbicides used in the United States today.  Click here for information about paraquat from the CDC.

The research shows paraquat exposure is highly dangerous – even when you are exposed at low levels.  People who work with or around paraquat are exposed through their skin and through inhalation.  Both types of exposure can be deadly.  Just a thimble of paraquat could kill a person if swallowed.  It is also possible to be poisoned through your skin.

Over the years, countries have become more aware of how harmful paraquat exposure can be.  It has been linked to eye damage, skin damage, Parkinson’s disease, respiratory arrest and cardiovascular health.  In fact, paraquat is so toxic that at least 50 countries across the globe have banned its use for any purpose.

However, in the United States, paraquat use has increased over the last twenty-five years.  Regardless of the fact that the CDC describes paraquat as “highly poisonous” and “toxic.”  The EPA has placed paraquat on the “restricted” list, which means you need to have a license to purchase Paraquat.  However, having a license to use paraquat and using the product only as intended does not make it less dangerous.

There are now several studies linking paraquat exposure to Parkinson’s Disease.  The studies consistently suggest there is an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in people exposed to paraquat.

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive, incurable neurodegenerative disease of the brain.  As the disease progresses, the brain is unable to produce enough dopamine and the person loses proper control of many of their motor functions.  More information about Parkinson’s can be found here.

Parkinson’s affects the motor system, which can cause many different symptoms.  Because the disease is progressive, it often begins with small symptoms that are sometimes ignored.  Some common beginning signs of Parkinson’s include:  freezing of gait (getting stuck in a standing position and not being able to get your feet moving to walk), drooling, tremors, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, muscle spasms, impaired coordination.

If you have been exposed to paraquat and have any of these symptoms, we can help.  Liakos Law works with the leading firms across the country on behalf of people exposed to paraquat and other drugs and chemicals that harm them without warning.