Since the 1950s, paraquat dichloride has been used by the agricultural industry as an herbicide to control weed and grass growth that are deleterious to crops, and it’s regularly used by farmers in Illinois. Paraquat is only available for commercial use. Because it’s a restricted-use pesticide, those deploying it must be trained and certified to use it. Even with stringent precautions in place, there are 1–2 deaths per year by paraquat poisoning because if it’s ingested, it’s lethal. There is no antidote.
The hazard posed
Ingestion, however, is not the only concern. Many studies have shown that repeated exposure over time to this chemical compound causes a neurodegenerative process that leads to Parkinson’s disease. There are other studies showing links between paraquat exposure and thyroid cancer or kidney, lung and liver failure.
Thousands of lawsuits alleging harm done and a failure to warn have already been filed against Paraquat’s manufacturers. In 30 countries around the world, the use of Paraquat has been banned, but the European Union and China continue to export it, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), when doing a required 15-year review, reapproved it in July of 2021.
Many environmental and health advocacy groups vigorously pushed back against that ruling. The EPA subsequently filed a motion that would allow it to revisit the approval it issued. If you believe you may have been exposed to Paraquat and have been diagnosed with an illness that can be linked to it, it’s vital to speak with experienced counsel to review your options. Do not count yourself out. With increasing frequency, these Goliathan entities are being brought to task.