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Illinois Paraquat Injury Attorney

Illinois Attorneys for Injuries Related to Exposure to Paraquat and Other Toxic Substances

Chicago Toxic Chemical Exposure Attorney for Health Issues Related to Paraquat Herbicide

While herbicides are commonly used on farms in the United States and other parts of the world, these chemicals can be dangerous. Paraquat, one type of weed-killer that has been in use for more than 50 years, can be especially harmful, and exposure to this chemical can lead to a variety of serious health conditions. However, even though it is known to be highly toxic, paraquat continues to be widely used, especially when dealing with weeds that are resistant to other herbicides, such as Roundup. Those who come in contact with paraquat may experience severe symptoms. Long-term exposure may also cause multiple types of debilitating health conditions.

Companies that use toxic chemicals must follow the proper safety practices, and if they fail to do so, people working with these chemicals or others nearby may suffer severe injuries. When harmful chemicals are used as herbicides, agricultural workers or people who live near farms may experience long-term exposure to low levels of these substances, and this can result in chronic health issues. Newland & Newland, LLP provides legal representation for those who have been injured by these types of chemicals, and we work to help victims take action against manufacturers of harmful herbicides or other parties who caused them to be exposed to unsafe amounts of toxic substances.

Injuries Caused by Paraquat Poisoning

Since paraquat is classified as a "restricted use" chemical by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it can only be used or handled by people who have the proper commercial licenses. Agricultural workers who use paraquat may be at risk of poisoning if they drink the chemical after confusing it with a beverage, inhale concentrated amounts of the chemical, or absorb the chemical through their skin. Symptoms of paraquat poisoning will usually occur immediately after exposure, and a person may experience severe, permanent injuries such as heart failure, respiratory failure, seizures, or coma.

Long-Term Effects of Paraquat Exposure

While paraquat has been authorized for use when it is properly diluted, it may still cause a variety of health issues for those who experience long-term exposure. One of the most significant issues is a higher risk of Parkinson's disease. Some studies have found that people who are exposed to paraquat at a young age due to living near farms where this herbicide was used have an increased risk of experiencing Parkinson's later in life. This chronic, progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder affects the neurons in the brain, leading to issues such as tremors, slowed movements, stiff muscles, problems with balance, and slurred speech. There is no cure for Parkinson's and no therapies or treatments that will slow or stop the progression of this disease.

Paraquat FAQs

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 an Illinois Paraquat Herbicide Injury Attorney

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after being exposed to paraquat herbicides, our firm can advise you of your legal options. We will help you determine whether you can join mass torts against a manufacturer or another company that caused you to suffer harm. To get legal help with health issues related to toxic chemical exposure, contact us at Newland & Newland, LLP by calling 847-797-8000 and arrange a free consultation.

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