What Is Paraquat and What Do I Need to Know About It?

What Is Paraquat and What Do I Need to Know About It?

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Paraquat dichloride, commonly referred to as paraquat, is a herbicide used to kill weeds on farms. Some people also use it for grass control. Exposure to the chemical is hazardous and can lead to severe organ damage and other health effects.

Paraquat is one of the most commonly used weed killers in the United States, even though it is linked to Parkinson’s disease and other health complications.

Those who live or work in rural areas with extensive farms are at an increased risk of exposure to paraquat.

If you suspect you or your loved one has been exposed to paraquat, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately and consult an experienced paraquat lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about this dangerous weed killer and how you can stay safe.

Paraquat Toxicity: How Dangerous Is the Weed Killer?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paraquat is so harmful to human beings such that one sip can kill. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for poisoning from paraquat.

The herbicide mixes easily with water, beverages, and food substances. To prevent accidental ingestion, the manufacturer has added some additives to the chemical, such as vomiting agents, odors, and dyes.

Paraquat exposure

In 2019, EPA developed new requirements to help prevent paraquat poisoning and other health-related risks. The requirements include training materials for licensed paraquat users, special packaging, restricting use to certified applicators only, and label changes to clarify the chemical’s dangers.

Even with these new requirements, paraquat exposure and poisoning continue to occur. If you have been exposed to paraquat, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately as delay can be fatal.

What Kinds of Crops Are Farmed with Paraquat?

Paraquat can be used to treat a wide range of crops and fruit trees. Some people even use it for grass control in their homes.

The herbicide has been used commercially in the United States for over five decades. It is estimated that approximately eight billion pounds of the weed killer are used annually.

It is mainly used on a wide range of crops, including but not limited to:

  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Artichokes
  • Cotton
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Grapes
  • Citrus trees
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Garlic

Unfortunately, with the current litigation targeting Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers, many farmers in the country have turned to using paraquat to control weeds.

This has increased the number of people exposed to the herbicide and the consequent health complications.

Which Brand Name Herbicides Contain Paraquat?

Paraquat is commonly sold under the trade name Gramoxone, but the weed killer is also sold under a wide range of other names, including but not limited to:

  • Blanco
  • Para-shot 3.0
  • Bonedry
  • Crisquat
  • PP148
  • Tota-col
  • Dexuron
  • Firestorm
  • Cyclone SL 2.0
  • Program
  • AH 501
  • Quick-Quat

The active chemical ingredient in paraquat is the same formulation found in many other herbicides, including Diquat dibromide and Simazine.

Due to the increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease due to paraquat exposure, many countries in the world have entirely banned the use of paraquat, including China, the world’s largest paraquat producer.

Unfortunately, the use of paraquat in the United States has actually increased over the past few years. On average, the United States sprays approximately seven million pounds of the herbicide on over 15 million acres of land yearly.

Paraquat Exposure: The Risks

Exposure to paraquat can happen in several ways. The most common is inhaling the chemical while working with or near it.

Paraquat can also be absorbed through the skin. This can happen if you come into contact with the chemical that has already been sprayed on plants or touch contaminated clothing.

A bottle of herbicide

Ingesting paraquat is also a risk, especially for children who may not know better. If you accidentally drink paraquat-contaminated water or eat paraquat-sprayed fruits or vegetables, you could suffer from poisoning.

Paraquat is also dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn children. Studies have shown that exposure to paraquat during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects and other complications.

Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s Disease: What Is the Link?

Several studies have linked paraquat exposure to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

One study published in 2011 found that people who had been exposed to paraquat were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who had not been exposed.

Another study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that people who had been exposed to paraquat were 2.6 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who had not been exposed.

Paraquat exposure has also been linked to other health problems, including:

  • Lung damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage
  • Heart damage
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory problems
  • Birth defects
  • Nervous system damage

If you or someone you know has been exposed to paraquat, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Prolonged exposure to the herbicide can cause serious health complications and even death.

Paraquat Symptoms: What to Look Out For

Exposure to paraquat can lead to several symptoms, some of which may not appear for weeks or even months after exposure.

If you have been exposed to paraquat, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to preventing serious health complications.

Paraquat symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itchy skin
  • Rash
  • Blisters
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Delay can be fatal.

Paraquat Poisoning: What to Do

If you or someone you know has been exposed to paraquat, it is crucial to take action immediately.

The first step is to remove any clothing that may have been contaminated with the herbicide. If possible, clothing should be removed without coming into contact with the skin.

Contaminated clothing should be placed in a sealed plastic bag.

The next step is to flush the affected area with water for at least 15 minutes.

If you have been exposed to paraquat through the skin, removing any jewelry or watches is vital as they can trap the herbicide against the skin and increase the risk of absorption.

Paraquat exposure

If you have ingested paraquat, do not induce vomiting. Doing so could cause further damage to the throat and esophagus.

Instead, give the person a glass of water or milk and have them drink it slowly. Do not give them anything by mouth if they are having difficulty breathing or if they are unconscious.

If you have been exposed to paraquat, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to preventing serious health complications.

Paraquat Treatment: What to Expect

If you have been exposed to paraquat, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to preventing serious health complications.

There is no specific antidote for paraquat poisoning, so treatment focuses on supportive care. This may include:

  • Fluids through an IV to prevent dehydration
  • Oxygen therapy to help with breathing
  • Dialysis if there is kidney damage
  • Medications to control seizures
  • A ventilator if there is respiratory failure

The prognosis for paraquat poisoning depends on the amount of herbicide exposure and how quickly treatment is received.

In general, the more exposure there is, the greater the risk of serious health complications or death.

How Long Does Paraquat Poisoning Take to Work?

Unfortunately, paraquat poisoning can be quite fast-acting. Symptoms usually start to appear within a few minutes or hours of exposure.

In severe cases, death might occur within a week or a few weeks. For instance, if you drink paraquat-laced water, you may start to feel sick within a couple of hours.

How Do I Take Legal Action If I Have Been Exposed to Paraquat?

If you or someone you know has been exposed to paraquat, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately.

It is also important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and options.

You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the herbicide if it can be proven that they were negligent in their design, manufacture, or warnings about the product.

You may also be able to take action against the licensed applicator, farmer, or any other party who used the herbicide if you can prove that they were negligent in using the product.

Paraquat lawsuits

For instance, if the applicator did not follow the instructions on the label, you may be able to take legal action against them.

Furthermore, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit if you have lost a loved one due to paraquat poisoning.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will review your case and help you understand your legal options.

Take Action Now!

If you or a loved one has been exposed to paraquat and is experiencing any associated symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately.

Furthermore, if you believe that you have been the victim of negligence on the part of those who manufactured, marketed, or sold the herbicide in question, you may be eligible to file a legal claim seeking damages.

For more information about your rights and options in this situation, please contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced paraquat lawsuit attorney.

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