According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, one in ten Americans over 60 will develop Parkinson’s disease. Many risk factors have been identified, including head trauma, certain chemicals and pesticide exposure.
Paraquat is a herbicide linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. In a new study, researchers have found that people exposed to paraquat are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. This is the first study to link paraquat exposure to Parkinson’s disease.
A Look At The Litigation
As of October 2019, more than 1,500 lawsuits had been filed against the paraquat manufacturers, alleging that exposure to the herbicide caused plaintiffs to develop Parkinson’s disease. The vast majority of these lawsuits have been consolidated into two multidistrict litigations (MDLs) in federal court.
The first MDL was filed in 2012 and included more than 800 cases. The second MDL was filed in 2015 and included more than 700 cases. Both MDLs are currently ongoing.
The plaintiffs in these lawsuits allege that the paraquat manufacturers knew or should have known that the herbicide was toxic and could cause serious health problems, yet failed to warn users about these risks. They also allege that the manufacturers engaged in false and misleading marketing practices by downplaying the risks associated with paraquat exposure.
The Science Behind the Claims
What does the research say about paraquat and Parkinson’s disease? Several studies have suggested a link between paraquat exposure and the development of Parkinson’s disease. However, the studies were conducted in different populations and were not directly comparable.
For example, some studies were conducted on farm workers exposed to paraquat over many years. In contrast, other studies involved people exposed for only brief periods. These differences make it difficult to draw firm conclusions about the connection between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.
In addition, the studies were based on self-reported use of paraquat, which may need to be more accurate. Also, it is possible that other factors that were not considered in the studies could have caused Parkinson’s disease. The results from the studies have yet to be definitive.
Some Possible Explanations For The Study Findings
Several factors may have contributed to the findings in these studies. One factor is that paraquat, like other herbicides, is usually used in combination with other herbicides. This may have contributed to the findings because people exposed to other herbicides and paraquat may have a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Another factor is that the studies have only sometimes adjusted for exposures to other chemicals, such as herbicides, besides paraquat, insecticides, and fungicides. The researchers have pointed out that studies have yet to consider cumulative exposure to these chemicals. This has been a limitation in several studies.
It is also possible that the study findings are due to chance, or it may be that Parkinson’s disease can affect people at a younger age. The researchers have also pointed out that Parkinson’s disease and paraquat exposure studies have generally been small and have not used the same methodologies to assess exposure.
The Outcome of The Litigation
The jury found that the two companies were negligent for failing to warn about paraquat’s safety. The verdict awarded $46 million to the injured farm worker and his family members who witnessed his death: his wife, son, and daughter. The jury also found that the companies acted “wanton and reckless” in their failure to warn. The verdict included punitive damages of $8 million against Monsanto and $510,000 against Uniroyal.
The companies settled with the family without admitting any wrongdoing or fault. The companies ended up paying $41 million. The amount to be paid by Monsanto was $40 million; the amount to be paid by Uniroyal was $1 million.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve faced the same difficulties as those exposed to paraquat and now suffer from Parkinson’s disease, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawyer. The ongoing paraquat Parkinson’s litigation for those harmed by this toxic herbicide, and many have already successfully secured financial damages.
If you’re struggling with the physical and emotional effects of Parkinson’s, contact a personal injury lawyer today to learn more about your legal options.
The jury’s verdict against Monsanto and Uniroyal was the first time a jury found a pesticide manufacturer liable for failing to warn against the health effects of a product. It is still being determined whether this award will be upheld on appeal. The jury’s decision means pesticide manufacturers should be more careful in labeling paraquat.
To avoid a similar situation, pesticide manufacturers should consider labeling all pesticides with warnings about the health effects of exposure, including warnings about the risk of Parkinson’s Disease.