Paraquat Lawsuit News Updates

The latest lawsuit news and updates regarding Paraquat.

Paraquat Update: Farmworker Groups, Environmental Nonprofits, Michael J. Fox Foundation Sue EPA Over Paraquat Re-Approval

October 8, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

In July, despite mounting evidence of the strong connection between the herbicide paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the federal body responsible for ensuring the safety of herbicides and pesticides used in the US—reapproved the usage of the controversial, highly toxic chemical.

In response, an assortment of nonprofit advocacy groups have come together to sue the agency over its decision. The petitioners include nonprofits advocating for the rights of farmworkers (Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc.; Farmworker Justice; Alianza Nacional de Campesinas); environmental groups (Center for Biological Diversity; Toxic Free North Carolina; Pesticide Action Network of North America); and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

“This lawsuit challenges a July 13, 2021 order by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (‘EPA’) registering a pesticide, paraquat dichloride , for continued use,” state the petitioners in an October 1 filing. “Paraquat is a highly toxic herbicide, exposure to which is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease, respiratory distress, and, when ingested, sudden death.”

Paraquat Health Risks

For decades, the devastating effects of paraquat on living cells have been well-documented; in fact, it is precisely this lethality that makes it such an effective herbicide. According to the EPA, just “[o]ne small sip can be fatal and there is no antidote.”

Within the medical community, paraquat’s destructive impact on nerve cells is so well established that scientists use paraquat to induce Parkinson’s-like symptoms in animal subjects for research purposes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other long-term health effects of paraquat exposure include lung damage/scarring, kidney failure, heart failure, and esophageal scarring.

Paraquat Is Banned in Much of the World

As a result of these known risks, a number of countries have banned the use of paraquat outright, making the US an outlier among large agricultural nations for still allowing the deadly chemical to be applied to farmlands, often using such indiscriminate methods as aircraft (crop dusters) and sprayers.

“A pesticide this toxic has no place near our food or the people who help to grow and harvest it,” Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the petitioners, said in 2019. “The EPA should follow the lead of nearly every other major agricultural country in the world and ban this dangerous stuff for good.”

Even as other countries have moved to eliminate paraquat entirely, paraquat use in the US has skyrocketed. For example, while the European Union has banned paraquat use since 2007, paraquat usage in the United States is estimated to have doubled between 2013 and 2017 to over 10 million pounds annually, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

“It only takes a teaspoon of paraquat to kill a person,” said the Center for Biological Diversity’s Donley. “So it’s clear [millions of pounds] of this stuff is doing extreme harm to our health and the environment.”

Rather than ban paraquat use outright as many advocates had demanded, the EPA’s July 2021 interim registration of paraquat instead instituted a number of “enforceable mitigation measures” purportedly intended to limit the public-health risk posed by paraquat. These range from requiring a “residential area drift buffer for all aerial applications” to prohibiting “pressurized handgun and backpack sprayer application methods” to imposing restricted entry intervals (REI) of up to seven days following application of the chemical.

The nonprofit petitioners have called on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, to review the EPA’s decision under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the law that empowered the EPA to regulate herbicides in the US and which requires the EPA to re-evaluate all herbicides registered for use in the US once every 15 years.

Lawsuits Filed by Paraquat Victims

Hundreds of other paraquat lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs alleging that they or a deceased loved one developed Parkinson’s Disease as a result of paraquat exposure. Federal paraquat lawsuits have been centralized as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Southern District of Illinois.

The MDL contained 289 active cases as of September 15, according to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML).

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease after long-term, regular exposure to paraquat, contact TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation!

Sources:

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (1 October 2021). Form 7. Mediation Questionnaire. Case No. 21-71287. California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation et al. v. U.S. EPA

United States Geological Survey (USGS). (Last Modified 18 June 2020). Estimated Annual Agricultural Pesticide Use. Pesticide National Synthesis Project

United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). (Last Updated August 2, 2021). Paraquat Dichloride

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Last reviewed 4 April 2018). Facts About Paraquat. Emergency Preparedness and Response

Center for Biological Diversity. (15 October 2019). Trump EPA’s Paraquat Review Ignores Sstrong Links to Parkinson’s Disease

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (15 September 2021). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District >

Paraquat Update: Paraquat Plaintiffs Claim Exposure Due to Herbicide Drift, Tainted Drinking Water

October 1, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

In litigation over allegations that the herbicide paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease, much focus understandably has been placed on agricultural workers whose job it was (and is) to apply the dangerous substance on a regular basis. These workers regularly came into direct contact with paraquat, including getting paraquat directly on their skin, allegedly without any warning about how truly damaging the exposure could be to their long-term health.

However, a review of individual paraquat lawsuits reveals that plaintiffs also blame other, less direct forms of paraquat exposure for their Parkinson’s disease and other health consequences, including damage to the kidneys. These other sources of exposure include so-called “drift” from nearby fields, as well as drinking water tainted with paraquat.

“Plaintiff was regularly exposed to Paraquat as a result of direct exposure, pesticide drift, and contamination of drinking water,” reads a lawsuit filed September 24 on behalf of a deceased individual, adding later, “Plaintiff lived in close proximity to 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.”

While this particular deceased plaintiff also had been exposed to paraquat at work, where she was responsible for mixing and spraying the herbicide, the fact that her lawsuit includes the additional sources of exposure is both significant and potentially horrifying, raising the question of just what levels, regularity, and duration of paraquat exposure can result in Parkinson’s or other serious side effects.

Given paraquat’s widespread use and the means of application, if it is found that exposure levels from drift or tainted drinking water are sufficient to cause serious health issues such as Parkinson’s, then tragically many thousands more individuals are likely to have been affected. For many, exposure that already has taken place—perhaps unwittingly—might be in the process of triggering health consequences that are yet to reveal themselves.

On top of being applied to millions of acres of agricultural crops annually, paraquat typically is applied using methods that show little concern for the health and safety either of the workers applying the poisonous substance or of the community at large.

“Paraquat products are typically applied with a knapsack sprayer, hand-held sprayer, aircraft (i.e., crop duster), truck with pressurized tank, or tactor-drawn pressurized tank, and such use was as intended, directed, or at least foreseeable,” the lawsuit says.

Such indiscriminate methods of application clearly are intended to apply paraquat over as wide an area as possible with little regard for the wellbeing of the people, animals, and plants surrounding the application zone.

“At all relevant times it was reasonably foreseeable that users and others nearby would be exposed to Paraquat through contact with skin, breathing it in, and/or ingesting it,” the lawsuit asserts.

A Failure to Warn

Worse yet, plaintiffs accuse defendant Syngenta of both under-investigating the safety of paraquat and failing to issue proper warnings regarding its known dangers. In fact, plaintiffs allege that even as a growing body of scientific evidence warned of serious consequences to human health, defendant Syngenta engaged in a vigorous public-relations campaign aimed at spreading misinformation about the dangers of paraquat.

“In response to growing concerns about the safety of Paraquat, Syngenta established a website at www.paraquat.com for the purpose of persuading the public that Paraquat is safe,” the lawsuit alleges. “Syngenta’s statements proclaiming the safety of Paraquat and disregarding its dangers were designed to mislead the agricultural community and the public at large, including Plaintiff.”

Even as Syngenta was busy distorting the scientific literature on paraquat’s potential risks—including by creating and maintaining the now-defunct paraquat website—plaintiffs claim “[d]efendants knew or should have known that Paraquat was a highly toxic substance that can cause severe neurological injuries and impairment.”

Further, “[d]efendants failed to appropriately and adequately test its Paraquat-based products to protect individuals like Plaintiff from the hazards of exposure to Paraquat.”

As a result, “Plaintiff, CAROL MAE JEANSONNE, deceased, contracted Parkinson’s Disease, was severely and permanently injured, and died as a result of the exposure to Paraquat,” the lawsuit filed on behalf of Jeansonne’s estate alleges.

An Ongoing Risk

Despite the robust and ever-growing body of scientific evidence outlining the devastating impact paraquat and paraquat derivatives have on human health, and despite the herbicide having been banned in many countries due to its health risks, paraquat somehow remains legal to use in the United States. This means that every day untold numbers of agricultural workers and members of agricultural communities continue to be exposed to this toxic substance, with the most severe consequences of their exposure perhaps not revealing themselves for years or decades to come.

Thus, perhaps the greatest tragedy of all in the paraquat saga is not the damage done but that—despite all of the information available—the harm continues to this day.

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease following long-term, regular exposure to paraquat, contact TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation!

Sources:

United States District Court Southern District of Illinois. (24 September 2021). Complaint. Case 3:21-pq-01178-NJR. Lacombe v. Syngenta

Paraquat Update: As MDL Cases Grow 60% in One Month, Paraquat-Maker Syngenta Urges Court to Dismiss Some Claims

September 27, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

Defendant Syngenta—the Switzerland-based corporation behind the herbicide paraquat—has urged the court to dismiss certain claims against it in multidistrict litigation (MDL) over allegations that paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease.

However, Syngenta importantly has not asked that all claims against it be dismissed, meaning that, even if the court were to grant Syngenta’s request in full—an outcome which itself is far from a certainty—some claims against the embattled corporation will inevitably survive.

Meanwhile, the number of cases in the paraquat MDL continues to skyrocket. As of September 15, the paraquat MDL included 289 active cases, an increase of more than 100 cases—or 60%—since mid-August.

In a motion filed September 13, Syngenta argued that three classes of claims against it should be dismissed: (1) claims brought under the laws of certain states; (2) claims for breach of warranty; (3) claims for violations of state consumer protection laws.

Even if the court agrees that all such claims should be tossed, Syngenta still would find itself facing numerous counts from hundreds if not thousands of plaintiffs. For example, one paraquat lawsuit filed September 24 contains a total of seven counts, only one of which (breach of implied warranty of merchantability) potentially would be affected by the court’s granting Syngenta’s partial motion to dismiss.

The paraquat MDL has centralized hundreds of federal lawsuits alleging that paraquat gave the plaintiff—or, tragically, a deceased individual represented by the plaintiff—Parkinson’s disease. The use of paraquat as an herbicide first was discovered in 1955 by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). Later—in the words of the September 24 lawsuit—“[t]hrough a long series of mergers, spin-offs, and related corporate transactions” Syngenta-controlled entities came to own ICI’s agrochemical business, including paraquat, often sold under the brand name GRAMOXONE.

According to the lawsuit, since 1986, Syngenta and its affiliated entities have manufactured, formulated, and distributed paraquat in the United States as both an active ingredient and as a final product.

Also named as a defendant in the paraquat MDL is Chevron Chemical Company, which, in the 1960s, entered into a licensing and distribution agreement with ICI that allowed the Big-Oil-affiliated company to sell paraquat in the US.

Tragically, the risks of paraquat use to human health have been recognized for decades, with the same chemical qualities that make paraquat an effective herbicide also wreaking havoc on human nerve cells.

“The same oxidation and redux potentials that make Paraquat highly toxic to plant cells and other types of animal cells make Paraquat highly toxic to nerve cells, including dopaminergic neurons, and create a substantial risk to all persons exposed to Paraquat,” the September 24 lawsuit states.

Paraquat’s devastating impact on nerve cells is so well recognized that researchers studying Parkinson’s disease using animal subjects use paraquat to induce Parkinson’s-like symptoms.

“Paraquat is one of only a handful of toxins that scientists use to produce animal models of Parkinson’s disease,” the lawsuit reports.

Despite the MDL only having been established in June 2021, the proceedings are moving ahead at a break-neck pace for such litigation, with the court recognizing the devastating and fast-acting nature of Parkinson’s disease and the need to act quickly in the hopes of delivering justice for plaintiffs while they are still alive.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to paraquat, contact TheLawFirm.com for a free legal consultation!

Sources:

United States District Court Southern District of Illinois. (13 September 2021). Syngenta’s Consolidated Partial Motion to Dismiss. Case 3:21-md-03004-NJR. MDL 3004. In Re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court Southern District of Ilinois. (24 September 2021). Complaint. Case 3:21-pq-01178-NJR. Lacombe v. Syngenta

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (15 September 2021). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (13 August 2021). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District

Paraquat Update: Paraquat MDL Judge Approves Plaintiff Questionnaire, Fact Sheet

September 7, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

In an important step forward for still-growing federal litigation over the links between the herbicide paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease, the presiding judge formally approved on September 3 both the plaintiff questionnaire and the plaintiff fact sheet .

These documents, along with the plaintiffs’ master complaint, will allow the hundreds if not thousands of expected plaintiffs to file their claims in a uniform way, allowing for the more efficient processing of the large number of anticipated lawsuits.

As of August 13, 181 active cases had joined federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the herbicide paraquat with many more expected to come.

Given the devastating and fast-moving nature of Parkinson’s Disease, Chief US District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel appears intent on keeping the paraquat MDL on an expedited track, already having scheduled the first bellwether trial for November 2022.

With her approval of the plaintiff’s assessment questionnaire and plaintiff’s fact sheet, Chief Judge Rosenstengel has taken a big step toward the efficient filing and handling of claims. Additionally, the September 3 case management order instructed the court-appointed special master to establish deadlines and guidelines related to the plaintiff questionnaire and fact sheet.

The 13-page plaintiff’s assessment questionnaire requires a variety of information, from more generic items such as residential history and employment history to highly detailed inquiries about the nature of the plaintiff’s paraquat exposure.

Specifically, for each time the plaintiff was exposed to paraquat, the questionnaire asks for the plaintiff’s job title at the time of the exposure as well as the approximate months and years that the exposure took place. Further, the questionnaire asks for each exposure questions such as the method of application, the number of acres to which paraquat was applied, the location of application, the individual or entity that sold or supplied the paraquat, and more.

The questionnaire describes an instance of paraquat exposure as having “handled, mixed, applied, assisted in application, sprayed or otherwise came into contact with” the substance while working.

For its part, the 37-page plaintiff’s fact sheet seeks similar information but oftentimes in even greater detail, delving deeper into both the plaintiff’s medical history as well as that of the plaintiff’s family. Similar to the questionnaire, the fact sheet also asks for specifics on each paraquat exposure, including the type of protective equipment, if any, used by the plaintiff during each exposure.

There unfortunately is a long history of a link between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s Disease, and paraquat use has been banned in a number of different countries due to the health risks. These countries include Switzerland, home of paraquat-maker Syngenta.

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease after having been exposed to the herbicide paraquat, contact TheLawFirm.com now for a free legal consultation!

Sources:

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (13 August 2021). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District

United States District Court Southern District of Illinois. (3 September 2021). Case Management Order No. 7. Case No. 3:21-md-3004. MDL No. 3004. In re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court Southern District of Illinois. (3 September 2021). Exhibit 1 Plaintiff’s Assessment Questionnaire (PAQ). (PA. Case No. 3:21-md-3004. MDL No. 3004. In re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court Southern District of Illinois. (3 September 2021). Exhibit 2 Plaintiff’s Fact Sheet. Case No. 3:21-md-3004. MDL No. 3004. In re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation

Paraquat Update: Paraquat MDL Adds Dozens of New Cases As Court Races Toward First Bellwether

August 9, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

In some multidistrict litigation (MDL), it can take half a decade or more before the first bellwether trials are held. This can be due to the complexity of the factual and/or legal issues involved, the large number of cases, defendant delay tactics, or any combination of the above.

However, in the instance of newly established multidistrict litigation over allegations that the herbicide paraquat causes Parkinson’s Disease, Chief US District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel appears to be intent on making an exception. Despite the paraquat MDL having been established in June 2021, Judge Rosenstengel early on established an aggressive date of November 2022 for the first bellwether trial.

Even as the number of cases in the MDL continues to skyrocket, the court has been pushing the parties to meet its ambitious deadline.

The paraquat MDL centralized federal lawsuits over allegations that long-term, repeated exposure to the common herbicide causes Parkinson’s Disease. Although the MDL is relatively new, unfortunately, scientific evidence that paraquat poses a serious health risk is not. Research dating back as far as the early 1990s has demonstrated a strong correlation between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s Disease in humans, as well as Parkinson’s-like symptoms in animals.

One lawsuit originally filed in the Eastern District of New Jersey in April 2021 (and which is now part of the paraquat MDL in the Southern District of Illinois) cited scientific evidence suggesting that certain individuals may be genetically predisposed to getting Parkinson’s from paraquat. For example, a 2012 study found that those possessing a certain genotype “were 11.1 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease” when exposed to paraquat.

Since 1962, paraquat has been sold by the Swiss company Syngenta under the brand name Gramoxone. Despite its still being widely used in the United States, its use has been banned in a number of other countries due to the health risks, including Switzerland, where its use has been forbidden since 1989. In 2020, the People’s Republic of China banned paraquat use in that country, classifying the substance as “extremely toxic,” according to the April 2021 lawsuit.

Sadly, given that each case represents an avoidable tragedy, the number of cases in the paraquat MDL has been increasingly rapidly and is expected to grow further still. From mid-June to mid-July, the number of active cases grew six-fold from 29 to 173, with dozens more cases having been added since that time, according to court documents and data released by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML).

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease after repeated exposure to paraquat, contact TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation!

Sources:

United States District Court Eastern District of Missouri Northern Division. (14 April 2021). Complaint. Case No. 2:21-cv-00031-MTS. J. Patrick Hays v. Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, et al

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (15 July 2021). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by Actions Pending

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (15 June 2021). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District. MDL Statistics Report

Paraquat Update: Paraquat MDL Off to a Fast Start; First Trial Scheduled for November 2022

July 20, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

Newly created multidistrict litigation (MDL) over allegations that the popular herbicide paraquat causes Parkinson’s Disease is off to a fast start, with the first trial already having been scheduled for November 2022, court documents show.

The court also has already appointed a special master tasked with establishing pretrial deadlines in keeping with the ambitious trial date.

Additionally, in the month from mid-June to mid-July, the number of cases in the paraquat MDL grew more than six-fold, from 29 on June 15 to 173 as of July 15, according to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML).

Tragically, that figure is expected to grow into the many hundreds or even the thousands given the long-time, widespread use of paraquat in the United States, and it does not include paraquat lawsuits filed in state court.

Given the fast-acting and devastating nature of Parkinson’s Disease, the court appears to be moving with a sense of urgency aimed at allowing plaintiffs their greatest chance of receiving justice in their lifetimes. By way of comparison, some MDLs go a number of years before their first bellwether trials are held. The paraquat MDL was established in early June, making it extremely young in the normal lifespan of such complex litigation.

Despite having been banned in a number of other countries due to concerns over health risks, paraquat continues to be both legal and widely used in the United States. Plaintiffs in the MDL claim based on scientific evidence that long-term, repeated exposure to paraquat causes Parkinson’s Disease. Paraquat often is sold under the brand name Gramoxone.

Defendants in the paraquat MDL include Switzerland-based Syngenta, maker of Gramoxone, as well as American oil giants Chevron and Philips 66, whose chemical divisions manufactured and sold Gramoxone, as well.

In a sign that the court is serious about meeting its ambitious deadline of commencing the first bellwether trial on November 15, 2022, the court appointed on July 14 a special master who immediately was directed to meet and confer with the parties in an effort to establish a pretrial discovery schedule, as well as to handle a number of other essential administrative matters.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease after years of regular exposure to Gramoxone or another form of paraquat, contact TheLawFirm.com today for a legal consultation!

Sources:

United States District Court Southern District of Illinois. (Accessed 16 July 2021). Docket. In Re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation. Case No. 3:21-md-3004-NJR. MDL No. 3004

United States District Court Southern District of Illinois. (10 June 2021). Case Management Order No. 1. Case No. 3:21-md-3004-NJR. MDL No. 3004. In Re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (15 July 2021). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by Actions Pending

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (15 June 2021). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District. MDL Statistics Report

United States District Court Southern District of Illinois. (14 July 2021). Case Management Order No. 4. In Re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation. Case No. 3:21-md-3004-NJR. MDL No. 3004

Paraquat Update: Judicial Panel Okays Creation of Paraquat MDL

June 17, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

Federal products liability lawsuits alleging that the herbicide paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease will be centralized as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Southern District of Illinois, the judicial body responsible for overseeing MDLs in the United States ordered in a highly anticipated decision issued June 7.

“Since 1964, paraquat has been used in the United States to kill broadleaf weeds and grasses before the planting or emergence of various crops, to control weeds in orchards, and to desiccate plants before harvest,” the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) wrote in its transfer order. “The actions here involve common factual issues concerning the propensity of paraquat to cause Parkinson’s Disease. This litigation likely will implicate complex scientific and regulatory issues. Centralization will eliminate duplicative discover; avoid inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.”

The newly formed paraquat MDL, which has been assigned to United States District Court Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel, included 29 cases as of June 15, according to figures released by the JPML.

However, given the popularity of paraquat in the United States and the length of time that paraquat has been available on the US market, that figure is expected to grow dramatically over the coming months and years.

Scientific knowledge about the potentially serious health risks posed by paraquat is hardly knew, with evidence dating back decades. In fact, the United States is relatively rare among countries in still allowing the use of paraquat. For example, the European Union, Switzerland, and China all have banned the use of paraquat for years. (Switzerland is particularly of note as Syngenta, the maker of paraquat, is headquartered in that country.)

A bill to ban the use of paraquat in the US was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2019 but failed even to get a floor vote.

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after repeated exposure to paraquat, contact TheLawFirm.com for a free legal consultation!

Sources:

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (7 June 2021). Transfer Order. In Re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation. MDL No. 3004

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (15 June 2021). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District. MDL Statistics Report

Paraquat Update: Panel Hears Arguments on Potential Paraquat MDL

May 26, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

On May 27, a judicial panel is scheduled to hear oral arguments over the creation of multidistrict litigation (MDL) that would centralize federal lawsuits filed by plaintiffs alleging that the pesticide Paraquat gave them Parkinson's disease, court document show.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will consider a motion filed by plaintiff Paul Rakoczy requesting that 14 Paraquat cases across six different districts be transferred to the Northern District of California as part of a new MDL.

The cases herald from districts across the United States, including the Southern District of Illinois, the Eastern District of Missouri, the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia, and the Western District of Wisconsin, in addition to the Northern District of California.

The lawsuits are based on a decades-old but still-growing body of evidence indicating that repeated exposure to Paraquat can cause the devastating neurodegenerative condition known as Parkinson's disease. While only 14 cases are listed in the JPML's Notice of Hearing, numerous other state and federal Paraquat cases already have been filed in the US, with many more expected to follow.

The health risks of Paraquat have long been known to science, and a number of countries and regional organizations—including Switzerland, China, and the European Union—already have banned its use. In 2019, a bill to ban Paraquat in the United States was introduced in the US House of Representatives, but it died before even getting a floor vote.

"[P]araquat shall be deemed to generally cause unreasonable adverse effects to humans in part due to its acute systemic toxicity and for being a known neurotoxin which causes Parkinson's disease," read the unpassed bill, HR 3817.

Regardless of whether or not the JPML grants the plaintiff's motion to establish a Paraquat MDL, the number of Paraquat-related lawsuits in the United States is expected to grow rapidly over the coming years as more evidence comes to light and, tragically, more individuals exposed to Paraquat develop Parkinson's disease.

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after being repeatedly exposed to Paraquat, contact TheLawFirm.com now for a free legal consultation!

Sources:

Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (15 April 2021). Notice of Hearing Session. In Re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation. MDL No. 3004

United States House of Representatives. (17 July 2019). H.R. 3817 To cancel the registration of all uses of the pesticide paraquat, and for other purposes. 116th Congress. 1st Session

Paraquat Update

February 12, 2021
Author: Ben Adams

A new study in mice has revealed that when inhaled, the pesticide paraquat can enter the brain. The researchers also found that, in male mice only, paraquat exposure impaired sense of smell, an early sign of Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Interestingly, Parkinson's is 1.5x more likely to present in men than women.

This study is important because inhalation represents the most realistic route of pesticide exposure for farmers but is often overlooked in basic animal research and risk assessments.

Paraquat was detected in four regions of the brain as well the lungs and kidney. Levels in the olfactory bulb were substantially higher than in any other brain region, consistent with inhalation exposure through the olfactory system. Even though paraquat levels in all tissues returned to control values within four weeks of the end of exposure exposed male mice had a persistent impaired sense of smell compared to controls. Exposure did not affect sense of smell in female mice.

This means that farmers, pesticide applicators, tank fillers/mixers, and the families living in and around farming communities are at increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

A 2011 study by the National Institute of Health the found that people exposed to Paraquat are approximately 2.5 times, or 250%, more likely to develop Parkinson's Disease. Parkinson's is a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement, often in the form of tremors, stiffness, or loss of balance. Although certain medications can control the symptoms of Parkinson's, there is no cure.

Scientists now believe that environmental exposures like herbicides and pesticides are the leading cause of Parkinson's. In fact, in animal studies, Paraquat is used to induce Parkinson's disease so that scientists can study the disease.

What this means is that Paraquat is used by scientists to purposely give Parkinson’s disease to animals but farmers are still allowed to spray this pesticide! Unfortunately, the link between Paraquat and Parkinson's disease is still widely unknown to farmers and the public. Many farmers may be using the herbicide spray and putting their entire communities at risk simply because the dangers are not known by them.

Sources:

Niehs

Pubmed

Legal Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to be used as medical information or diagnosis. The sources of the information presented in the article have been researched and are linked within the article. Please seek out medical advice from a licensed medical professional if you are experiencing a problem with any of the drugs or devices mentioned in this article. 

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