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Paraquat Injury FAQs

Illinois Toxic Substance Injury Lawyer Answers Frequently Asked Questions About Paraquat Herbicide

Farms in the United States and around the world use herbicides to control weeds. The chemicals in these herbicides can be very dangerous, and people who are exposed to these substances may suffer serious injuries and health conditions. Paraquat is one commonly-used herbicide that has been found to cause harm to workers on farms and others who inhale this chemical or absorb it into their bodies. If you have been exposed to paraquat as an agricultural worker or a person who has lived near a farm where this herbicide was used, our law firm can answer any questions you may have and help you understand your options for taking legal action to address your injuries.

Is Paraquat Used Regularly in the United States?

While paraquat has been commercially available since the 1960s, its use has increased significantly over the past decade. This may be due to weeds becoming resistant to other herbicides, such as Roundup. Since 2006, paraquat use in the United States has increased from around 3 million pounds per year to over 11 million pounds per year. Paraquat may be available under the brand-name product Gramoxone, although hundreds of other companies around the world also produce paraquat herbicides.

How Dangerous Is Paraquat?

Paraquat is a highly toxic chemical. Ingestion of small amounts of concentrated paraquat can lead to severe bodily harm, including the failure of organs such as the heart, kidneys, and liver. Inhalation of paraquat may cause serious lung injuries or lung failure. Paraquat poisoning is often fatal. If a person receives emergency treatment immediately after being poisoned, medical personnel may use a variety of methods to minimize their injuries and prevent further harm. Activated charcoal or blood filtering may be used to remove the paraquat from the person's system. Medications may be administered to address low blood pressure, and ventilators may be used to ensure that a person can receive enough oxygen. Dialysis may also be necessary in cases where a person experiences kidney failure.

Paraquat poisoning can have a variety of long-term effects, and in addition to injuries caused by direct exposure to concentrated paraquat, exposure to low levels of this chemical over a long period of time may also cause injuries or health issues. Long-term exposure may lead to Parkinson's disease, an incurable neurodegenerative disorder.

What Types of Controls Are Used to Prevent Paraquat Poisoning?

Because of the potential for serious harm due to poisoning, paraquat is considered a "restricted use" chemical. Workers who use paraquat must receive specialized training, and they must obtain the proper licenses and certifications. They must also use protective equipment to prevent exposure, including chemical-resistant gloves and aprons, respiratory protection, safety glasses, and face shields.

To minimize the risks of poisoning, companies that produce paraquat in the United States must include a blue dye and chemicals that produce a strong odor to ensure that it is not confused with other liquids. The herbicide must also include an agent that induces vomiting if it is ingested. However, paraquat produced outside the United States may not include these safeguards.

Contact a Chicago Paraquat Exposure Attorney

If you have worked on or around farms where paraquat was used, or if you are concerned about the potential health issues of paraquat exposure after living near a farm, our law firm can help you determine your best options for addressing Parkinson's disease. We can advise you on whether you may be able to join mass torts against the manufacturers of dangerous chemicals or other companies that have caused you to suffer harm. For a free consultation, contact us by calling 866-553-9812.

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