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What Is Paraquat?

Dozens of countries around the world have banned the use of paraquat dichloride (“paraquat”), a toxic chemical often used by farmers as a herbicide (plant killer) primarily for weed and grass control, due to its deadly toxicity. Paraquat has been directly linked to Parkinson’s disease. However, in the United States, the use of paraquat is not only legal, but on the rise.

The National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project reported that between the years 2006 and 2016 the use of paraquat in the United States had doubled. Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies paraquat for “restricted use” by commercial applicators only, the amount of exposure is still on the rise, causing many farmers, applicants, and even truckers that pass through these crops to fall deathly ill.

How Could Truck Drivers Be Exposed to Paraquat?

To prevent ingestion, paraquat contains safeguard additives, such as dyes, odors, and vomiting agents. However, it is still highly toxic and it’s very easy to be exposed, especially by skin exposure or inhalation. Unfortunately, farmers, applicators, and truckers are the most likely to experience this exposure. This is because they are either working directly with the chemical or driving through areas that heavily use the substance.

Truckers and those who frequently drive through and around the farm-heavy heartland, including Missouri and especially Illinois, are at an elevated risk.

Signs and Symptoms of Paraquat Exposure

There are some immediate signs and symptoms you can look for if you think you have potentially been exposed, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pain and swelling in the mouth and throat

If you were exposed and didn't get treated for hours, days, or weeks, paraquat can cause the following health problems:

  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Lung scarring
  • Coma
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs)
  • Respiratory failure
  • Seizures
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Although the list of side-effects and potential health risks is extensive, paraquat is still heavily used in the United States. In 2017 alone, an estimated 11 million pounds of paraquat were used in the United States, on nearly 15 million acres. This makes it highly likely that many citizens in agricultural communities are unknowingly exposed to paraquat over time, either through the air, soil, or water.

If you or a loved one were exposed to paraquat and developed Parkinson’s disease, you may have the right to take legal action.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

We can help. Hurt Trucker Attorneys have been representing injured truckers for nearly 50 years. We will fight for your rights and make sure insurance adjusters treat you fairly. If we represent you in your paraquat injury or workers’ comp case, we will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation available. We will not receive a fee until you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to review your case.