Lawsuit Alleges Certified Paraquat Applicator Developed Parkinson’s Diagnosis Following Regular Exposure to Toxic Herbicide

According to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit, even professionally trained and certified Paraquat applicators are developing Parkinson’s disease after handling the controversial herbicide, due to inadequate warnings and safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Syngenta Corporation and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP have been named as defendants in a complaint (PDF) filed last week by J. Patrick Hays in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, indicating that the grass and weedkiller Paraquat is unreasonably dangerous to human health and unfit to be sold, especially without proper warnings and directions about the dangers associated with exposure.

Although Paraquat has been banned in several countries, since it is known to be extremely toxic and ingesting even small amounts can lead to fatal poisoning, it is marketed in the United States under restrictions that require a certified training program before consumers are able to purchase, handle or spray the grass and weedkiller.

PARAQUAT Parkinson's Lawsuits

Did you get Parkinson's after exposure to Paraquat?

Exposure to the toxic herbicide Paraquat has been linked to a risk of Parkinson's disease.


Hays indicates he went through the Paraquat certified applicator program, and applied the herbicide regularly farmlands where he lived and worked in Monroe County, Missouri. The lawsuit indicates he was exposed to Paraquat between 1965 and 2005, from direct application, pesticide drift and contamination of his drinking water.

“On numerous occasions, Plaintiff could feel the Paraquat on his skin during mixing and application of the Paraquat products. On multiple instances, Plaintiff remembers being coated with Paraquat while applying it… via groundboom,” according to the complaint. “Additionally, Plaintiff lived in close proximity to additional fields where Paraquat products were applied. On information and belief, Plaintiff was also exposed to Paraquat that was applied to these fields due to drift. Plaintiff estimates that he was exposed to Defendants’ Paraquat products in excess of one hundred times.”

As a result of he toxic herbicide, Hayes developed Parkinson’s symptoms about 10 years ago, and was diagnosed with the disease in approximately 2016, according to the complaint.

Although Hays went through the process of becoming a certified Paraquat applicator, he says

he was unaware that exposure may be injurious to his health. He idd not learn about the link between Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease until at least February 2021.

“Defendants knew or should have known that Paraquat was a highly toxic substance that can cause severe neurological injuries and impairment,” the lawsuit states. “Despite its knowledge that exposure to Paraquat was dangerous, Defendants continued to promote their Paraquat-based products as safe.”

Paraquat is a “Restricted Use Pesticide” (RUP), which limits use to certified applicators. However, the Paraquat certification process focuses on the herbicide’s toxicity if accidentally ingested and increasing evidence suggests that users face an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s, even when following recommended precautions while spraying, mixing or handling the product.

The case filed by Hays now joins a growing number of Paraquat lawsuits now being pursued throughout the U.S. court system, each raising similar allegations that individuals may have avoided a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis if information and warnings had been provided.


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories