Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease Risk Remains Too Great, Even For Licensed Herbicide Applicators

Austin Kirk

By Austin Kirk
Posted February 5, 2021


Although the herbicide Paraquat is heavily restricted in the United States, and can only be purchased or used by certified applicators, increasing evidence suggests a devastating link between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, even when recommended precautions are taken. As a result, there continues to be a growing movement for the U.S. to join dozens of other countries in banning Paraquat entirely.


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Saiontz & Kirk, PA, Attorneys & Lawyers, Baltimore, MD

The product liability lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are pursuing potential Paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuits for individuals diagnosed with this progressive and debilitating condition following exposure to the herbicide, even if they were a licensed or certified applicator.

For decades, the manufacturers have placed their desire for profits above the health and safety of farmers, herbicide applicators and others, by providing false and misleading information about the risks associated with Paraquat. In reality, it appears that the manufacturers knew or should have known there is no safe way to use Paraquat without exposing users to an unreasonable risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Paraquat Restrictions Fail to Protect All People From Parkinson’s Disease Side Effects

The EPA’s Paraquat Training for Certified Applicators requires completion of a specific program before individuals are allowed to mix, load or apply Paraquat.

The training provides information about the risk of Paraquat toxicity, making sure that applicators and handlers are aware of the restrictions on the herbicide and the consequences of misuse. However, the training focuses on the health risks that can be caused by paraquat poisoning, but does not adequately disclose the Parkinson’s disease risk that users face even when safety precautions are followed.

Over the past decade, there has been a steady flow of studies documenting the increased risk of Parkinson’s disease among individuals exposed to Paraquat.

In July 2011, data from the National Institute of Health (NIH) Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) study found that farmers using Paraquat may be 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s.

In 2012, a separate study, known as “Genetic Modification Association of Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease”, which found that individuals with certain genetic variations may be 11 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s after Paraquat exposure.

In addition to other studies, just recently in December 2020, a study published in the medical journal Toxicological Sciences found that inhaling Paraquat impacts the brain of mice in a way that is consistent with the development of neruodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease, highlighting the unavoidable risk associated with Paraquat.

While the EPA announced that it was continuing to evaluate the health with Paraquat in 2016, no actions were taken under the Trump administration to further restrict or ban the use of the herbicide.

In July 2017, the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council sent a letter (PDF) to the EPA, pointing out that even with training, applicator licenses and other restrictions, the Paraquat Parkinson’s disease risk remains too great.

Even restricted use is insufficient to protect all people, including licensed applicators and those exposed indirectly:

“[S]everal epidemiologic studies have associated Parkinson’s disease with rural living, well water exposure and farming. Studies also indicate that exposure to paraquat, either directly or through air or clothing-born herbicide, markedly increases the risk of Parkinson’s. Restricting use of the chemical to those with a license is therefor insufficient to protect all people.

Parkinson’s Disease Lawyers Reviewing Cases Nationwide

Nearly 1 million individuals throughout the United States have a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis and it appears that at least some of these cases may have been avoided if proper warnings had been provided about the risks of paraquat and if the herbicide were removed from the market.

Financial compensation is now being pursued through paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuits, including claims for licensed applicators and others who were not adequately warned about the risks associated with this dangerous product.


4 Comments • Add Your Comments

  • Deborah says:

    My husband died of complications of Parkinson’s disease 5 years ago. He could not walk and had terrible hallucinations I was his full time care giver for many years. This disease was devastating to our family. We owned and apple farm in late 1970s and I remember he took courses to spray herbicide on the apple trees. He also grew up in a farming community in Idaho, called Salmon used the river water for drinking water when he grew up there. There are many cases of people who have had neurological diseases in this community. I have always felt his condition was related to pesticides.

    Posted on June 21, 2021 at 7:12 pm

  • del says:

    I live in arizona, worked for brother in no. dak in the summer.he used chemicals on his crops I have Parkinsons been disgnosed balance and speach is bad o looking for asst living.

    Posted on April 15, 2023 at 10:49 am

  • Ronald says:

    Could afford doctor’s to run the test to see it I want well I know am for anyr case up in hesford Alabama spray his sow beat ever day right on top of the men working under where here was spraying

    Posted on June 27, 2023 at 11:31 am

  • Ahmad says:

    We observed a mass killing of farmers due to paraquat exposure in the Province of Kerman Iran a few years ago.

    Posted on July 8, 2023 at 11:13 pm

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