Parkinson’s Diagnosis Resulted From Regular and Frequent Exposure to Paraquat: Lawsuit

Even trained and licensed applicators were not told about the true risks of Paraquat exposure, the lawsuit claims

A Mississippi man indicates that years of regular and frequent exposure to Paraquat cased a Parkinson’s diagnosis, which has left him with permanent injuries and disabilities associated with the progressive movement disorder.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Neil McCord on November 29, indicating that Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, and Chevron U.S.A., Inc. failed to warn users of the controversial herbicide about the risk of neurological damage, which could cause or contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Paraquat has been widely used on farms throughout the United States since the mid-1960s, to control weeds and long grass. However, a growing body of research has established a link between Paraquat and Parkinson’s diagnosed among farmers and others in the agricultural industry, even when all of the manufacturer’s recommended safety precautions were followed.

According to the lawsuit, McCord used Paraquat as a certified applicator in Mississippi from about 1970 to 1983, indicating that he regularly inhaled, ingested or absorbed Paraquat while using it to desiccate crops for harvest.

“After repeated and consistent paraquat exposure, Plaintiff began suffering neurological injuries consistent with Parkinson’s disease and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2018,” McCord’s lawsuit states. “Plaintiff’s neurological injuries have continued and progress over time, and Plaintiff suffers these injuries at present and will continue to suffer these injuries into the future.”

The lawsuit notes that while applicators like McCord were told Paraquat was acutely toxic if it was swallowed, they were never told that exposure could cause neurological injuries or Parkinson’s disease following routine exposure.

McCord only became aware of the Paraquat Parkinson’s diagnosis risk until the last year, primarily due to the manufacturers’ efforts to conceal those dangers from the public, regulators and even those licensed in its use, the lawsuit states.

Paraquat Parkinson’s Litigation

The case joins dozens of similar Paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuits now filed in courts throughout the U.S., each raising similar allegations that the manufacturers failed to warn users, even licensed and trained applicators about the risks of Parkinson’s disease from Paraquat exposure. Many suggest this was in order to keep the already controversial weed killer on the market and thus expand the manufacturers’ profits at the expense of the health of consumers.

While genetics are often believed to be a major cause of Parkinson’s disease, growing research indicates genes are only believed to be associated with about one-in-ten cases. Exposure to herbicides and pesticides are increasingly considered a leading risk, especially when combined with other factors that place individuals at risk of the development of Parkinson’s.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the U.S., the federal Paraquat litigation has been centralized before one judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings. As part of the coordinated federal litigation, a federal judge has indicated that a series of “bellwether” trials will be held to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the claims.

However, if Paraquat settlements or another resolution for the litigation is not reached, each individual case may later be returned to the home district where it was originally filed for a future trial.

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