Product Liability

Anti-paraquat groups sue EPA

September 29, 2021

To prevent further injuries from this potentially devastating toxic herbicide, a coalition of groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week aiming to reject the EPA’s recent decision to renew its approval for the use of paraquat.

Paraquat herbicide linked to Parkinson’s disease

In a previous Gavel publication, we reported that an investigation by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) determined that individuals were over two times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease after being exposed to paraquat, a widely used commercial herbicide. Based on these health risks, paraquat has been banned in 32 nations, including the EU. Despite being developed by Syngenta, a Swiss-based company, it has even been banned from use in Switzerland since 1989. Even countries like Laos, which would economically benefit from the use of paraquat, have maintained their ban on the herbicide to protect the health of farmers.  

Despite these alarming facts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has renewed its approval for the use of paraquat in the United States. This came even after the EPA has reported that the weed killer is "highly toxic" and that "one small sip can be fatal and there is no antidote." While one would not be surprised by former President Trump’s stance on paraquat, E&E News reported last month that renewal was "an unusual example of Biden administration regulatory agencies taking a softer approach than the Trump administration, which built a reputation for easing environmental rules."

Anti-paraquat groups sue EPA  

To prevent further injuries from this potentially devastating toxic herbicide, a coalition of groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week aiming to reject the EPA’s recent decision to renew its approval for the use of paraquat.  

As stated by Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, a senior attorney at Earthjustice, a nonprofit organization representing the petitioners in this matter, "This paraquat registration puts EPA on the wrong side of science, history, and the law." He further stated that "with dozens of countries banning paraquat because of its severe health effects, there is no excuse for leaving farmworkers and agricultural communities exposed to extreme risks." Earthjustice petitioners include the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Farmworker Association of Florida.

Connor Kippe, policy advocate at Toxic Free North Carolina, another petitioner in the new lawsuit, added, "Paraquat is highly toxic, and even small doses by any method of transmission can affect health, especially for child farmworkers. Our flawed pesticide registration system enables this type of glancing regulatory approval, despite known harms to people in all parts of the food system."

The Center for Biological Diversity has further stated that the EPA decision meant the product could stay on the market for 15 years and further explained, “[The] decision reverses protections proposed last year by the Trump administration that would have banned aerial application of the pesticide in most cases. This decision allows the aerial spraying of paraquat on all approved crops, including within 50 feet of houses for some applications.”

Have you been exposed to paraquat?

If you or a loved one were exposed to paraquat and have since been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, or have symptoms of this disease, we're here to help. Fill out our short intake form HERE and a legal professional will contact you for a free and no-obligation review of your case. You may be entitled to substantial compensation from the manufacturer of paraquat without ever stepping foot in court. If you do not receive a recovery through a lawsuit or settlement, you don’t owe us anything.

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