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On June 1 an Illinois state court will hear a highly-anticipated trial over the alleged risk of Parkinson’s disease supposedly associated with exposure to the herbicide Paraquat. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit Thomas and Diana Hoffman claim Thomas Hoffman developed Parkinson’s disease after decades of exposure to Paraquat while working as a farmer. He died in 2017.

This will be the first trial in a wave of class-action claims filed recently against the makers and distributors of Paraquat. In the complaint the plaintiffs  accuse makers of the  herbicide Syngenta, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company and Growmark Inc. of knowing, “that Paraquat is toxic to both plant and animal cells, and that its creation of oxidative stress in cells is the source of its toxicity, have been known to science since at least the 1960s.” Currently Paraquat is banned in more 30 countries, including nations within the European Union, and in China, a country not known for an aggressive regulatory stance on health and environmental issues.

In 2011 the National Institutes of Health and the Parkinson’s Institute conducted a study on the effects  of paraquat and another herbicide, Rotenone. A survey of farm families in Iowa and North Carolina revealed that individuals who were exposed to the herbicides were two and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson’s. In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency noted that “there is a large body of epidemiology data on Paraquat dichloride use and Parkinson’s disease.” In spite of this alarming evidence the product is still legal and widely used in the United States. The federal government estimates that in 2017 alone, more than 15 million pounds of Paraquat were applied to American croplands.

This wide use of Paraquat leads us to believe that there are thousands more potential claimants. Along with this opening trial in Illinois many other plaintiffs have filed similar Paraquat lawsuits. Plaintiffs in these suits claim that they developed Parkinson’s disease after years of exposure to this dangerous herbicide.

At Saunders & Walker we have a long history of representing consumers harmed by dangerous and defective products. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and has been exposed to paraquat, you might have a potential claim. Please contact us at 1-800-748-7115 for a free consultation and to learn more about case eligibility.

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