There are still many medical unknowns, but a body of research suggests some people are more genetically vulnerable to developing Parkinsons disease (PD). Furthermore, those with a predisposition for PD are more affected by even a low level of toxic exposure to herbicides, pesticides and other agrochemicals, and may be more likely to develop the disease.
This helps explain why those working on farms and living near agricultural areas are at a higher risk. In the 1980s, studies showed that exposure to a rural environment as well as exposure to well water were associated with development of PD later in life. Some evidence supports associations between the risk of developing Parkinson’s with the following:
Most cases of the disease occur randomly and do not seem to run in family bloodlines. But researchers believe that Parkinson’s disease results from a combination of both genetic mutations and environmental factors. Occupational pesticide exposure, farming work, well water consumption, and residential pesticide use have all been linked to elevated rates of Parkinsons disease (PD).
Studies have found an association between two common agrochemicals (paraquat and maneb) and Parkinson’s disease. One study concluded that low-level exposure to pesticides and specific agrochemicals may disrupt cells in a way that mimics the effects of mutations known to cause Parkinsons disease.
Even low-level exposure for those with a genetic predisposition for Parkinson’s disease drastically increases the risk of developing the disease. Epidemiological research demonstrates an increased risk among farmers and others exposed to agricultural chemicals. People exposed to these some herbicides are at about a 250-percent higher risk of developing Parkinsons disease than the general population, according to the study.
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In conjunction with genetic risks, there are environmental factors that are thought to play a role in the development of Parkinson’s. Such environmental exposure risks may include:
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes shaking, stiffness, and difficulties with balance and coordination. Approximately one million people in the U.S. have Parkinson’s disease (PD), with 50-60,000 new annual diagnoses. Symptoms generally worsen over time, and as the disease progresses, people may have mental and behavioral changes, trouble sleeping, depression, memory difficulties, and chronic fatigue.
Parkinson’s disease can be triggered when nerve cells in the area of the brain that controls movement are damaged or die. These nerve cells usually produce a brain chemical called dopamine. When the cells are damaged, they produce less dopamine and thus the movement of the person is affected. Scientists still theorize what causes these cells to die.
People with Parkinson’s also lose important nerve endings that control many automatic functions of the body, like heart rate and blood pressure. The loss of these nerve endings may help explain some distinct features of Parkinson’s, such as fatigue, irregular blood pressure, and the disruption of the digestive tract.
Parkinsons disease has four main symptoms:
Other symptoms include depression and other behavioral and emotional changes. The onset of symptoms and the rate of progression differ among individual cases. People will often dismiss early symptoms of Parkinson’s as the effects of aging, and because the onset can be very gradual, it can be difficult to diagnose accurately.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but medicines, treatments, and therapies are available. Medicines prescribed for Parkinson’s include drugs that increase the level of dopamine in the brain, regulate brain chemicals in the body, and help control non-motor symptoms. Popular therapy for Parkinson’s include levodopa (L-dopa) and Carbidopa.
Other medicine used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms include dopamine agonists that mimic the role of dopamine in the brain, MAO-B inhibitors that slow down an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain and Anticholinergic drugs that help reduce tremors and muscle rigidity.
Other therapies may include deep brain stimulation, physical, occupational, and speech therapies.
Roundup (glyphosate) has been linked to increasing the risk of developing a few specific cancers and illnesses, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Thousands of injury claims have been filed against Bayer, the manufacturer of Roundup following toxic exposure, and although Bayer denies that their product is dangerous, the company has settled many cases already.
Studies have supported this theory. One comprehensive study investigated exposure to 31 pesticides and their association with a PD risk. The data suggested paraquat is one of the more concerning pesticides as its mechanism of action causes oxidative stress and damage cells.
Paraquat is a widely used toxic herbicide (plant killer), common in agricultural and commercial farm settings. A body of research has been building and now indicates that acute or chronic exposure to Paraquat may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The chemical has been around for decades. Paraquat was produced for commercial purposes in 1961. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called paraquat a toxic chemical. In the United States, paraquat is available as a liquid in various strengths. Because paraquat is highly toxic, particularly if ingested, the pesticide has a blue dye, a sharp odor, and an added safety agent to induce vomiting if ingested.
Paraquat (1,1′-dimethyl-4,4′-bipyridine), a broad spectrum herbicide, is used to control pests in several crops: soybeans, sorghum, sugar cane, cotton, corn, apple, and others.
Though banned in some nations, worldwide it remains one of the more commonly used herbicides. According to Department of Agriculture data, the use of paraquat is up more than fourfold over the past decade.
Both farm workers and rural communities are at risk. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies paraquat for “restricted use,” which means only licensed applicators can legally use the chemical. But regardless of who initially uses the herbicide, every individual in the vicinity may be at risk of toxic exposure.
In 1997, the EPA warned that paraquat exposure was possible during the mixing, loading, and application of the herbicide, as well as during the post-application process. The agency said that despite the herbicide not being registered for residential use, exposure is possible for individuals who live near farms using the chemical.
Many countries have banned the chemical due to its acute pulmonary and cutaneous toxicity, and others have established restrictions.
As of late 2020, more than 40 countries have taken some action on limiting the herbicide. Even China, not typically known for progressive environmental regulation, has moved away from paraquat in order to protect the health of its citizens. The U.S. regulatory arm maintains that paraquat is safe “when used properly,” but each year there is more and more pressure to review the safety of industrial chemicals.
Aside from the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease due to chronic exposure, the herbicide may pose serious health risks without taking the necessary precautions. Paraquat poisoning cases have been recorded in the past, due to ingestion or direct contact with the skin. The extent of toxic poisoning depends on the amount, route, and duration of exposure. Paraquat will cause a toxic chemical reaction throughout the body, primarily the lungs, liver, and kidneys.
Herbicides containing paraquat include the following products produced by Chevron, Syngenta and GrowMark:
In the last ten years, the most famous types of toxic exposure cases involve property damage claims due to oil spills. Most notably, the BP Spill in the Gulf of Mexico damaged the environment and cost local business owners billions of dollars due to the impact on the local economy. A toxic tort lawyer can help to restore the environment and those small business losses through a settlement.
Whether the damages are financial or a combination of financial and human losses suffered due to a personal injury, toxic tort litigation exists to compensate those individuals and their families who have been harmed through no fault of their own.
Often people are unknowingly exposed to a dangerous substance and only discover the exposure once they have been diagnosed with a serious illness associated with the toxic material. While the government often levies fines when companies violate certain regulations, the civil justice system solely provide for the families human losses, property damage, or business losses.
The Lyon Firm is currently reviewing a wide range of toxic exposure claims. If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and have a history of pesticide exposure, contact Joe Lyon to discuss your case. The Lyon Firm offers free and confidential consultations.
Plaintiffs can consider filing toxic exposure lawsuits and product liability claims against the manufacturers and distributors of toxic industrial or household products. Plaintiffs are alleging that herbicide manufacturers sold hazardous products and failed to warn the end user about the inherent dangers of their products.
Class Action Paraquat lawsuits are currently being filed on behalf of plaintiffs. The Lyon Firm accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, and offers free case evaluations. A settlement could help you pay for medical costs, lost wages, and compensate for your pain and suffering. Pursuing a toxic exposure claim can also push chemical manufacturers to fully test their products before releasing them to the public.
(Hamilton County, Ohio): Confidential Settlement. Lead Counsel in a case that involved secondary lead exposure to two children. Their father worked at a local recycling plant that routinely recycled computer equipment. The company violated numerous OSHA regulations related to providing safety equipment and clothing to prevent lead particles from being transferred home. As a result, the Plaintiffs father transferred lead dust to his children who then suffered lead poisoning. The case was covered extensively by the Cincinnati news media and referenced in peer-reviewed medical literature. The settlement will provide educational needs to the children who suffered neurological injuries due the exposure.
The Lyon Firm has represented numerous plaintiffs across the country in Roundup cancer settlements. Bayer has been targeted with thousands of lawsuits, claiming the popular herbicide may raise the risk of certain cancers and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bayer began settling cases with Lyon Firm clients in 2020, and the firm is still accepting new Roundup Exposure claims.