Paraquat Sprayed on Farms in 1960s and 1970s Led To Parkinson’s Disease Decades Later

Lawsuit alleges long-term Parkinson's disease risk from spraying Paraquat was not adequately disclosed by Syngenta, Chevron

  • Paraquat has been used by famers since 1960s to kill weeds, but carried no warnings about Parkinson's disease risk associated with long-term exposure.
  • More than 100 Paraquat lawsuits have now been filed by farmers and agricultural workers diagnosed with Parkinson's, including a case filed this week by Illinois man diagnosed four decades after spraying Paraquat.
  • Lawyers are continuing to review new cases. SUBMIT A PARKINSON'S CLAIM

Agricultural workers and farmers nationwide continue to file product liability lawsuits against Syngenta Crop Protection LLC and Chevron U.S.A., indicating they developed Parkinson’s disease from Paraquat, often years after spraying the weedkiller.

Paraquat is a controversial herbicide used widely throughout the United States since the mid-1960s to control weeds and long grass on farms, parks and other properties. However, a growing body of research has established a link between exposure to Paraquat and Parkinson’s, even if all of the manufacturer’s recommended safety precautions are followed.

In one complaint (PDF) filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Jerry Hasbrook indicates he developed the degenerative disorder four decades after he sprayed Paraquat on farms throughout the state of Illinois, noting he was never told about the long-term Parkinson’s Disease risks which could result from normal exposure.

Hasbrook was regularly exposed to Paraquat while spraying the herbicide on farms from 1964 to 1974, and again from 1978 to 1979, according to the lawsuit. In 2018, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, leaving him with a permanent and progressively disabling injury.

“No doctor or any other person ever told Plaintiff that the Plaintiff’s Parkinson’s disease was or could have been caused by exposure to Paraquat,” Hasbrook’s lawsuit states. “At not time when Plaintiff was present as Paraquat was being sprayed was he aware that exposure to Paraquat could cause any latent injury, including any neurological injury or Parkinson’s Disease, or that any precautions were necessary to prevent any latent injury that could be caused by exposure to Paraquat.”

The case joins dozens of 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 Paraquat applicators, about the risks of Parkinson’s disease. 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. 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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