Companies that produce paraquat-based weedkillers, such as Syngenta, have been named in product liability lawsuits accusing them of failing to warn consumers that inhalation of paraquat or exposure to contaminated water could cause Parkinson’s disease. New details have been revealed through internal records that Syngenta implemented multiple deceptive tactics to downplay the significance of the causal relationship between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease.
Agricultural workers and residents of farming communities are seeking compensation for medical bills, loss of quality of life, and lost wages related to their Parkinson’s diagnosis in paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuits. The discovery of these internal documents is likely to aid plaintiffs in establishing liability, as it appears that Syngenta executives were well aware of the risk and yet went to great lengths to mislead consumers. Potential plaintiffs should seek out the legal expertise of an experienced product liability attorney to help gather evidence, create a persuasive case for compensation, and maximize that compensation in negotiations.
Syngenta Deliberately Deceived Regulators and Consumers
Syngenta, one of the main manufacturers of the weedkiller paraquat, is being accused of using unethical methods to suppress information that exposed the risks of paraquat. To control the reports from external researchers, Syngenta employed a crisis management team to be on standby to rebuttal any new studies that linked paraquat to Parkinson’s disease. This group worked to characterize evidence as inconclusive. In reality, the evidence supported the position that paraquat exposure interfered with the human nervous system.
Syngenta Internal Documents Show Strategies and Intent to Obscure Truth
An analysis of Syngenta’s internal documents also revealed that the company was ultimately attempting to construct a scientific consensus that paraquat was not a factor in causing Parkinson’s disease, despite their own research dating back 50 years that demonstrated the contrary. Syngenta has a record of hiring scientists to write papers downplaying the risks of paraquat. Additional evidence suggests that Syngenta leadership engaged in behind-the-scenes efforts to keep a top Parkinson’s researcher from joining an EPA advisory board, which they feared could have led to tighter restrictions or even a ban on the weedkiller if the researcher was allowed to serve on the board.
In regard to efforts to undermine internal research, one tactic was employing a lawyer to purge scientific findings to favor Syngenta’s agenda, which was to keep paraquat on the market. The censorship of scientific research is alarming enough, but Syngenta even went so far as to manipulate their own data to support their narrative that the connection between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s was unsubstantiated. Additionally, Syngenta’s internal research indicated that the safeguards put in place to prevent accidental ingestion were shockingly inadequate as compared to their advertised efficacy.
Exposure to Weedkiller Paraquat Increases the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Farmers and other agricultural workers are well aware that ingesting paraquat, even in small quantities, is almost always deadly. However, recent research has shown that even repeated passing contact with the weedkiller, or indirect ingestion through contaminated water can substantially increase an individual’s risk of developing Parkinson’s.
For example, cropduster pilots who inhale the air after spraying paraquat on a field, residents of farming communities who drink water that has been polluted with paraquat, and agricultural workers who absorb traces of paraquat while working the fields are all potentially being exposed to dangerous levels of paraquat. This repeated, indirect exposure is manifesting as Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that is the progressive destruction of neurons that produce dopamine.
Low dopamine levels can lead to issues with mobility, such as stiffness or weakness, compromised balance, and loss of fine motor skills. With Parkinson’s rates on the rise, there is more pressure to identify and eradicate environmental contaminants contributing to the issue. In the meantime, certain states like California are considering banning paraquat even for commercial farming operations. Regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency are also reassessing their prior approval of paraquat following objections from consumer advocacy groups and farming communities.
Recovering Compensation in a Paraquat Parkinson’s Lawsuit
As a degenerative disorder, Parkinson’s disease slowly chips away at a person’s mobility. Eventually, this means a loss of independence, loss of income, and even loss of identity. The plaintiffs in the paraquat Parkinson’s have to consider the long-term damages they are likely to sustain as the disease continues to compromise their ability to feed, dress, and bathe themselves, as well as the emotional and financial toll the disease will take on themselves and their loved ones.
If attorneys for the plaintiffs are able to establish liability, people who have developed Parkinson’s through exposure to paraquat may be able to recover compensation for economic damages as well as non-economic damages. As Parkinson’s disease progresses, the financial burden often becomes substantial as families attempt to cover the cost of treatment and compensate for the income or services that person used to provide. Monetary costs related to the plaintiff’s Parkinson’s can be reimbursed with economic damages. Although they are more difficult to quantify, plaintiffs can also seek compensation for emotional losses in the form of non-economic damages.
Examples of Damages in a Paraquat Parkinson’s Lawsuit:
- Medical bills
- Lab tests
- Mobility aids
- Home healthcare aides
- Home medical equipment
- Physical therapy
- Job-related losses
- Lost wages
- Missed promotions
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of parental guidance and instruction
- Loss of services and support
Contact an Experienced Paraquat Lawyer
The trial of the paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuits has been delayed until October 2023, but people who have developed Parkinson’s after exposure to paraquat should not wait to contact a product liability lawyer to evaluate their claim. Personal injury attorneys offer free consultations where they can offer an outline of what to expect from the claims process and an evaluation of the merit of your claim.
A product liability attorney will be able to assess your damages to determine what your claim is worth, ascertain what evidence will be needed to establish a connection between your injuries and damages, and negotiate for the maximum compensation possible for your paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuit.