You may know that pesticides and herbicides used to fight back weeds and pests from crops can contain harmful chemicals and damage the ecosystem and human health. The chemical compounds used in them, such as DDT, can be traced back to the 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that their application as pesticides and herbicides was discovered and they were mass-produced. The dangers were highlighted as early as 1962 by Rachel Carson, a marine biologist in a book called Silent Spring. Carson’s book gained traction and by 1972, governments began outlawing herbicides and pesticides – with the US banning its use. This shows how early the impacts of dangerous chemicals used on farmland started to show, and since then, research has grown significantly.
This article will focus its attention on paraquat, an herbicide that is well known for its detriment to human health. A staggering 32 countries have already banned the use of the herbicide. Amazingly, the US is one of the only western countries still allowing the use of paraquat, given how they were the first to ban others. A law firm called TorHoerman Law started fighting for its ban back in 2017 – let’s find out why.
Effects of Paraquat
Paraquat is extremely harmful to human health, with only 2.5 grams considered to be a lethal dose, and it can enter the body through contact, ingestion, and inhalation. The chemicals spread through the body and attack major organs – in extreme cases it can lead to death or coma. Recently, studies carried out by the National Institute of Health found that there were direct correlations between paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease, which attacks the central nervous system. After the study, a Swiss manufacturer called Syngenta explicitly claimed that paraquat exposure made farmers less likely to get Parkinson’s disease – a deadly dose of misinformation.
There are two primary manufacturers of paraquat, Syngenta and Growmark, who were named as defendants in a lawsuit originating from Illinois. On 6th October 2017, on behalf of farming and agricultural workers, the filled suit claimed that Syngenta and Growmark manufactured paraquat under the name Gramoxone since 1964. Before the data surrounding Parkinson’s disease, the plaintiffs had no idea that the chemical held any long-term effects. The suit is still ongoing, and the firm TorHoeman Law is still taking on new paraquat lawsuits.
Why TorHoeman Law?
The lead paraquat lawyer for Parkinson’s, Chad A Finley, comes from a long line of farmers in Illinois. He recalls watching planes and sprayers spreading paraquat when he was younger, but back then, nobody knew the detrimental impact. His grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and suffered for a long time. This is why Finley wants to spread as much awareness as possible about the dangers of paraquat – hopefully one day he will succeed.
From this short overview, you can see how damaging chemical agents used in farming can be. If you happen to be part of the farming community or know anyone that is, spread the word and help save lives.