Parkinson’s disease has been linked to Paraquat use as an herbicide for decades. Despite this, the use of Paraquat in the U.S. from 2013 to 2018 has doubled.

“Paraquat was banned in the European Union in 2007 after a court found that regulators did not thoroughly assess safety concerns, including scientific evidence connecting Parkinson’s to paraquat. It is also banned in the UK, although it is manufactured there. The chemical was banned in Switzerland, Syngenta’s home country, in 1989. And it is banned in China, the home base for ChemChina, which purchased Syngenta five years ago” … The Guardian, October 20, 2022.

Greg Vigna, MD, JD, national pharmaceutical injury lawyer and physician, “I have cared for patients with Parkinson’s for over three decades. It is a progressive neurological disease that causes involuntary tremors, rigidity that interferes with voluntary movement, cognitive impairments, and swallowing dysfunction. Complications include falls with fractures, loss of independence with gait and self-care, and pneumonia with respiratory failure. Parkinson’s is known as the fastest growing neurodegenerative disorder in the world.”

“It’s plausible that Paraquat causes Parkinson’s as there is robust evidence that Paraquat crosses the blood-brain barrier and is selectively neurotoxic to cells in the brain that lead to Parkinson’s. ” — Greg Vigna, MD, JD

Parkinson’s disease has been linked to Paraquat use as a herbicide for decades. Despite this, the use of Paraquat in the United States from 2013 to 2018 has doubled and is used across the world to reduce weeds and is used with various crops including cotton, soybeans, sugar cane, and corn. The neurotoxin risk extends past the farmers who use the pesticide but to rural residents. The dangers of Paraquat have led China and dozens of other countries, including the European Union to ban paraquat because of the unique health risks.

Dr. Vigna adds, “It is biologically plausible that Paraquat causes Parkinson’s Disease as there is robust evidence that Paraquat crosses the blood-brain barrier and is selectively neurotoxic to the cells in the brain that produce dopamine that leads to Parkinson’s. At the same time, epidemiological data show that farmers and residents in rural communities adjacent to farmland have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease related to long-term exposure.”

Despite over 67 countries having banned Paraquat, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s position on its website is that it “has not found a clear link between paraquat exposure from labeled uses and adverse health outcomes such as Parkinson’s disease”. Dr. Vigna continues, “Syngenta and Chevron are on the hook for injuries caused to humans across the world for their $400 million-dollar-a-year cash cow. They will argue that food security and increased cost of food will result without the use of Paraquat. They will pay lobbyists to push this position despite evidence of the contrary published in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research in 2023, showing that ‘eliminating Paraquat will save lives without reducing agricultural productivity’ and that ‘A wide range of alternative approaches to weed management and crop defoliation are available’ and ‘over 1.25 million farmers in low- and middle-income countries successfully produce a range of crops … which prohibit Paraquat use’.”

Dr. Vigna concludes, “We are looking well past Paraquat and Parkinson’s as there is clear evidence that Paraquat exposure is associated with end-stage renal disease. We represent the most injured and the most vulnerable. We know that Chevron and Syngenta will bring their experts, some of who will testify that Paraquat does not cross the blood-brain barrier and that there is no evidence that Paraquat kills the cells that produce dopamine. We know they will bring experts to testify that there is no reliable evidence that Paraquat causes Parkinson’s in a particular person and that there are many different causes of Parkinson’s. We also know they will get popped with punitive damages. These cases will be going on for decades here and across the world and we are not going away.”

Dr. Vigna is a California and Washington DC lawyer who focuses on neurological injuries caused by Paraquat and mid-urethral slings. Ben Martin is a national pharmaceutical injury attorney in Dallas, Texas. The lawyers represent the most severely injured in courts across the country.

Click here for more information about Parkinson’s Disease Pathophysiology.

Read this article to learn more about the link between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.

Greg Vigna, MD, JD
Vigna Law Group
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