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What are the Risks of Paraquat Exposure?

Every day, our nation’s agricultural industry works hard to keep us fed and healthy–unfortunately, farmers, agricultural workers, and even nearby neighbors can be exposed to deadly chemicals that are used as weed and insect killers. Perhaps the most notable example of this relates to weed killers that feature paraquat, a chemical that has long been associated with Parkinson’s disease and other complications.

Even though paraquat has been in use for decades, it is still somewhat obscure, and most people aren’t aware of the risks associated with it. Let’s take a deeper look at the potential dangers related to paraquat exposure:

How Does Paraquat Poisoning Develop?

Paraquat dichloride (usually referred to as just ‘paraquat’) was first introduced all the way back in the early ‘60s. It is an extremely potent herbicide that is used in numerous products, and it is preferred by many industrial outfits because of its ability to kill large amounts of weeds and grasses on contact. In fact, its toxicity is such that a single thimble-sized sip is more than enough to kill the average person.

An individual can suffer from paraquat poisoning by:

  • Inhaling or ingesting paraquat spray or liquid
  • Coming into contact with plants that were sprayed with paraquat
  • Getting paraquat on their skin
  • Mixing, applying, or transporting paraquat products
  • Living in close proximity to a farm or lot that uses paraquat products

Due to its obvious potency and toxicity, the U.S. has required that all paraquat products sold domestically include certain safety measures to avoid accidental exposure or ingestion, such as:

  • Chemicals that induce vomiting if ingested
  • Colorful dyes to make it easier to see when handling
  • Strong odors to deter inhalation or contact

While these measures may help reduce the amount of paraquat exposure in the U.S.,they are only applicable to domestic products–if an individual or company purchases paraquat products internationally, they won’t have these features. Furthermore, these measures don’t do anything to actually limit the toxicity of the chemical, so it doesn’t change much for those who have already been exposed in some form.

Potential Symptoms and Signs of Paraquat Exposure

Paraquat products are highly toxic, and even limited exposure can be disastrous to workers’ health. There are numerous health risks associated with paraquat exposure, but Parkinson’s disease is easily the biggest and most common. The chemical affects your body on a cellular level, and if enough cells in your brain are damaged, you become much more susceptible to neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s.

Some of the immediate symptoms of paraquat exposure may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Extreme fatigue or weakness
  • Pain or inflammation in the mouth or throat
  • Extreme anxiety or confusion
  • Seizures or blackouts

Questions About a Potential Paraquat Claim? Call VLF Today

If you or someone or you know has developed Parkinson’s disease as a result of paraquat exposure, contact the Van Law Firm office nearest you today. Our award-winning paraquat attorneys can review your claim and determine who is responsible for the damages these products have caused. Call today to schedule a risk-free consultation and case review.