Iowa Farmer Files Class Action Lawsuit Against the Manufacturers of Paraquat
Paraquat is known to be one of the most toxic herbicides in the world and is banned in more than thirty countries. The United States is not one of these countries, and Paraquat continues to be used by licensed farmers nationwide. A recently-filed class-action lawsuit alleges that Paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease.
As reported by www.desmoinesregister.com, an Iowa farmer has filed a class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. The lead plaintiff is representing a class of individuals who have not yet been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but that require extensive medical monitoring to test for the disease. The plaintiffs are seeking class certification.
The Iowa class action lawsuit is just one of many lawsuits pending in federal courts nationwide, with many lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who either used or were exposed to Paraquat and subsequently developed Parkinson’s disease. Because of the substantial number of lawsuits, all cases may be on the road to consolidation in one court.
A Deeper Look at Paraquat
Paraquat is an herbicide that may not be familiar to many consumers. Unlike herbicides you can purchase at a local store, Paraquat is an herbicide that requires a license for use. According to the class-action lawsuit filed in Iowa, Paraquat is “the most highly, acutely toxic herbicide to be marketed over the last 70 years.”
The more than thirty countries that have banned paraquat include China and countries within the European Union. China is not typically a country that bans products for being potentially dangerous to humans or the environment. The United States, however, continues to allow the manufacture and sale of Paraquat to farmers who have a license to use the product.
Paraquat was initially introduced in the United States in 1962 and was sold under the brand name “Gramoxone.” Chevron, a well-known company, sold Paraquat in the United States between 1964 and 1986. Farmers in the United States have been using Paraquat since 1964 to kill weeds before planting crops.
Given Paraquat’s toxicity, all users of the herbicide must first obtain a license. The herbicide was usually sold as liquid concentrate and was applied to crops using hand-sprayers, aerial crop dusters, and knapsack sprayers.
Studies and Data Link Paraquat to Parkinson’s Disease
Although Paraquat has been toxic since it entered the marketplace in the United States in the 1960s, the extent of the toxicity and the effects of such toxicity were not fully recognized publicly until recently.
In 2011, a study conducted by the National Institute of Health and the Parkinson’s Institute gathered data obtained from a federal survey of farm families in Iowa and North Carolina. The study concluded that individuals living on family farms in these two states were two and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease if they had been exposed to Paraquat or Rotenone, which is another herbicide.
In 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admitted that “there is a large body of epidemiology data on Paraquat dichloride use and Parkinson’s disease.” Yet, Paraquat remains on the market for sale and use in the United States.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers Paraquat to be highly poisonous and ingesting just one tablespoon of the herbicide can lead to death.
Allegations Against the Makers of Paraquat
The Iowa class-action lawsuit along with other Paraquat lawsuits pending nationwide allege that the makers of Paraquat knew those exposed to the herbicide (either directly or indirectly) are at an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The complaint filed in the Iowa class action lawsuit specifically alleges that “despite the evidence demonstrating [the] heightened risk and causal link [between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease], the defendants continue to sell Paraquat, without properly warning consumers, properly testing Paraquat, or changing the formulation to reduce the likelihood of exposure.”
Who Are the Plaintiffs in Paraquat Lawsuits?
The Iowa class action lawsuit pertains to a group of plaintiffs who were exposed to paraquat but who have not yet been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. These plaintiffs are at an increased risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which requires specialized medical screening. As such, the injuries at issue in the Iowa class action pertain to (1) increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, and (2) increased need for medical monitoring.
Most other Paraquat lawsuits pending in state and federal courts nationwide pertain to plaintiffs who have already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to the herbicide. The following three groups of individuals are common plaintiffs in many Paraquat lawsuits against Syngenta, Chevron, and other Paraquat manufacturers and distributors:
- Licensed Paraquat users (typically farmers);
- Agricultural workers (including workers who personally used Paraquat and/or were indirectly exposed to the herbicide); and
- Individuals who lived on or near farms and were indirectly exposed to Paraquat.
Shockingly, a significant number of individuals who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease received secondary exposure rather than direct exposure as the user/applicator of the Paraquat herbicide.
As such, Paraquat has proven to be dangerous to unsuspecting individuals who may not have known they were being indirectly exposed. No person deserves to suffer from a condition like Parkinson’s disease and if Paraquat has caused or contributed to cause one’s Parkinson’s, that person has a right to seek compensation from the makers of Paraquat herbicides.
Contact Searcy Denney Today to Speak with a Paraquat Lawyer
Were you or a loved one exposed to Paraquat and later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease? If so, it may be time to speak with a Paraquat lawyer to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation. While Parkinson’s disease can develop in patients without Paraquat exposure, evidence is mounting that supports a strong link between Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s.
At Searcy Denney, a Paraquat lawyer is standing by to evaluate your potential legal claim. Because you have limited time to pursue legal action, it is important to move quickly. Receive a free consultation to discuss your potential Paraquat claim today by calling Searcy Denney at (800) 780-8607 or by completing a case inquiry form on our website.