Paraquat, also known as paraquat dichloride, is a popular weedkiller that has sparked controversy after strong scientific links between exposure to Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease were uncovered by multiple studies. More than 32 countries have either banned or phased out Paraquat due to its toxicity. These countries or entities include China, Brazil, Switzerland, and the European Union (EU).
Switzerland banned Paraquat in 1989 due to safety concerns. The EU followed with a Paraquat ban in 2007, saying that the weedkiller was too dangerous for agricultural workers to spray, even if they wore protective clothing. China banned Paraquat in 2017 due to safety concerns, and Brazil followed in September 2020.
Paraquat Use in the U.S. Continues Despite Controversy
Despite the studies and global outrage over Paraquat’s toxicity, it is still legal for commercial farmers in the United States to spray Paraquat. Multiple advocacy groups have urged Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban Paraquat use. One of the most notable attempts came from the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF).
In 2019, the MJFF collected 107,000 signatures on a petition urging Congress to ban Paraquat. Despite their efforts, every bill seeking to ban Paraquat has failed to pass in Congress.
However, in 2020, the EPA proposed restrictions on the aerial application of Paraquat to limit exposure. Unfortunately, in August 2021, the restrictions were reversed, allegedly due to the research of a private pesticide industry group.
Nathan Donley, the environmental health science director at the Center for Biological Diversity, expressed his disdain over the EPA’s decision: “Not only are we approving Paraquat when the rest of the world is banning, but we’re using more of it than ever before. You can bet the decision-makers who approved the aerial spraying of this dangerous chemical within 50 feet of homes weren’t thinking of their homes or their own children. This is a truly disgusting decision.”
Paraquat: One Sip Can Kill
Despite refusing to ban Paraquat in the U.S., the EPA has warned about the dangers of ingesting Paraquat. The EPA acknowledges that one sip of Paraquat can be fatal. By 2014, there were already 27 confirmed fatalities due to Paraquat ingestion.
The EPA tried to decrease Paraquat poisoning by making the weedkiller a restricted use pesticide, which means it can only be sold to and used by certified applicators (and applicators under their direct supervision). This measure prevents homeowners from using Paraquat and prevents it from being sprayed in residential areas. However, the EPA’s restrictions have not rid the country of health complications due to Paraquat.
Defective Product Spotlight: Paraquat
Paraquat is an immensely popular commercial herbicide that is found in a variety of products, including:
- AH 501
- Bai Cao Ku
- Cyclone SL 2.0
- Helmquat 3SL
- Paraquat Concentrate
- Para-Shot 3.0
- Toxer Total
How GoldenbergLaw Can Help You
If you or a loved one are an agricultural worker who was exposed to Paraquat and developed Parkinson’s disease, contact the Minnesota Paraquat attorneys at GoldenbergLaw today. Our team has delivered the Gold standard of advocacy and justice to our clients for more than 35 years. Leave the sleepless nights behind by contacting us today for a free consultation!
- “Paraquat” (Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific)
- “The Michael J. Fox Foundation Submits 107,000 Community Signatures Urging the EPA to Ban Herbicide Linked to Parkinson’s” (MJFF)
- “EPA Reapproves Pesticide Linked to Parkinson’s Disease” (Center for Biological Diversity)
- “Paraquat Dichloride: One Sip Can Kill” (EPA)