Minnesota Paraquat Lawsuit Lawyers
As an agricultural worker in Minnesota, maybe you were exposed to paraquat. For decades, the agriculture and landscape industries freely used paraquat, exposing many workers to this dangerous chemical. In 2016, Paraquat became subject to new regulations and safeguards in the U.S., but for many, the damage was already done.
If you or a loved one used paraquat at work and suffered an injury or chronic illness because of it, you may seek compensation with help from the Minnesota paraquat lawsuit attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers.
Why You Should Hire Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, our Minnesota defective product lawyers understand the unique challenges and difficulties you face as a survivor of Paraquat poisoning. For years you have worked hard to provide for your family, only to find yourself suffering injuries or illness because of your line of work.
The medical expenses and burdens of a lifelong condition or injury due to Paraquat exposure can overwhelm a family. Our team of legal professionals will advocate for your rights at every turn. If Paraquat exposure harmed you, you may have a case for financial compensation against the parties who caused your injuries.
What Is Paraquat?
Paraquat, also sometimes called Gramoxone, is a potentially lethal chemical substance that can cause various health complications ranging from immediate illnesses to long-term health conditions. It is used primarily as an herbicide to control weeds and grass, and sometimes for certain crops that require a dry plant to harvest.
Paraquat is highly effective and reduces work for agricultural and landscape workers by inhibiting weeds and problematic grasses that can negatively affect crops and landscapes. Unfortunately, paraquat is also a highly toxic chemical and the widespread use of this product puts many agricultural workers at risk of illness and injury.
Many countries, including the United States, continue to allow Paraquat use in agriculture even in the face of its dangerous consequences. The EPA regulates paraquat, which commercial farmers and others still commonly use in the U.S. The European Union, on the other hand, recognizes the immense danger paraquat poses and has completely banned its use.
Those Most at Risk of a Paraquat Injury in Minnesota
Paraquat use in the U.S. remains widespread in agricultural applications. The EPA’s restrictions allow only commercial use and require users to be licensed, which reduces the number of potential victims to this highly toxic substance. However, workers in the farm industry and farmers themselves are still at high risk of suffering illness or death from exposure. Paraquat is highly toxic if swallowed and death can occur within minutes, but damaging exposure can also occur when a worker inhales the product or absorbs it through the skin.
The most problematic form of exposure to paraquat is through unintended oral ingestion. To prevent accidental ingestion of this otherwise colorless and odorless chemical, U.S. manufacturers dye Paraquat blue and add a strong chemical scent to it. As a result, U.S. agricultural workers are usually exposed to paraquat less directly. Paraquat is most often applied in liquid form, either sprayed by hand or using a crop-dusting airplane. Either form of application can lead to worker exposure through areal particles.
People who are at the highest risk of Paraquat exposure include:
- Agricultural workers;
- Landscape professionals; and
Places in Minnesota Where Paraquat Exposure Is Likely
We use more than half of the land in Minnesota for agriculture—an estimated 26 million acres of land. Farming crops and livestock in Minnesota is a way of life for many and the state ranks fourth in agricultural sales each year. The economic impact of agriculture in Minnesotans is vital and farmers must take every measure to protect their investments and livelihood year after year.
The use of pesticides and herbicides in farming is a balancing act of pros and cons. Unfortunately, many products that are effective at protecting crops are harmful to humans, paraquat included.
Farmers commonly use paraquat on these Minnesota crops:
- Potatoes; and
- Sugar beets.
Potential Effects of Paraquat on Your Health and Life
Ingesting paraquat can cause immediate illness and even death, while prolonged exposure in smaller amounts over time can also cause significant injury even if the user does not experience immediate signs of illness. Symptoms can appear in mere seconds to days or weeks after a person’s initial exposure.
Most of the time, an agricultural worker is poisoned by paraquat while they are applying it. Without proper precautions, a worker can easily inhale paraquat particles or absorb them through their eyes or skin. Just one exposure to paraquat can cause injury. When workers are exposed repeatedly over time through prolonged use of this product, they often develop serious and life-threatening conditions.
Other agricultural workers who are not responsible for directly applying Paraquat can still be exposed. This generally happens when workers are in a field during Paraquat application or they handle or pick recently sprayed crops. Workers who are repeatedly exposed to small concentrations of Paraquat are at risk of suffering injuries. Often, the workers are unaware that they are being exposed to Paraquat on the crops and may not take precautions to avoid its effects.
If you used or were exposed to paraquat as an agricultural worker, you may wonder about the common injuries and illnesses this product causes. Many agricultural workers don't know that this toxic chemical caused their health conditions and injuries.
Symptoms of acute Paraquat exposure include:
- Irritation or pain in the eyes, throat, or mouth;
- Gastrointestinal distress such as abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting; and/or
- Drop in blood pressure.
Potential long-term effects and conditions from Paraquat exposure can include:
- Lung damage and respiratory problems - Inhalation of Paraquat can cause scarring and damage to lung tissue that can leave a victim with permanent lung damage, such as pulmonary fibrosis.
- Kidney failure - Paraquat can damage an exposed person’s vital organs, including the kidneys.
- Heart damage - Exposure to paraquat can lead to heart problems and cardiac distress, which can be fatal if left untreated.
- Injury to the esophagus - When swallowed, the chemical components of paraquat can cause damage to the lining of the esophagus.
- Parkinson’s disease - Paraquat exposure has been linked with Parkinson’s disease in individuals who have been exposed repeatedly to the substance over time. In fact, studies have shown that depending on how long and how often an individual was exposed to paraquat, their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease may be up to 600 percent higher than the general population.
How an Attorney Can Help You If You Were Injured by Paraquat
Our team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Many workers in the agricultural industry were exposed to paraquat in their work. They don't know about the severe effects of paraquat exposure. Paraquat exposure can pose a risk to your physical health and your quality of life and financial security.
The Minnesota personal injury attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers have the resources to help you calculate the losses you have suffered and seek justice from the parties responsible for your injuries. A lawyer will work alongside you to help determine if you are eligible to file a claim against the companies that produce and sell this toxic chemical.
If you or a loved one has developed Parkinson’s disease or another health condition or injury after exposure to paraquat, you could be eligible to seek compensation for your losses. Contact our Minnesota Paraquat lawsuit lawyers at (612) 446-3999 for your free case evaluation and to discuss your legal options.