Millions of Farmworkers Could Have Been Exposed to Paraquat And Have Parkinson's Disease

Farmworkers stay in the field working sunrise to sunset, seven days per week while paraquat contaminates the field

paraquat Parkinsons Lawsuit News

Saturday, October 16, 2021 - The number of farm workers that may have been exposed to paraquat dangers over the last two decades is stagggering, according to farmworker organizations that keep such records. Representatives from environmental activist groups like the Farmworkers Association of Florida, the Guatemalan Maya Center, and the American Friends Service Committee recently met in Palm Beach Florida to discuss the multiple health crises facing the state's farmworkers from COVID 19 and also from paraquat exposure. Concerning the latter, WPTV West Palm Beach writes, "The exposure to pesticides, most notably the deadly paraquat herbicide, and climate change were other issues addressed by the panel. Calvin Warriner, an attorney speaking at the meeting, told the group, "There could be hundreds of thousands of farmworkers exposed to paraquat. They know they're sick but do not know why. Immigrant farmworkers work from sunrise to sunset, seven days per week, managing the millions of acres of crops like grapes, almonds, soybeans, cotton, and others that are sprayed with paraquat regularly. The meeting also acknowledged that immigrant farm works may be hesitant to seek medical attention for being sickened by exposure to agricultural chemicals. Some scientific studies suggest that farmworkers are two and one-half times as likely to develop Parkinson's disease because of their exposure to paraquat and other chemicals. Parkinson's disease is a deadly neurological disorder where brain cells stop communicating with one another causing a person's motor skills to gradually deteriorate. More than 150 people have filed paraquat Parkinson's disease lawsuits against Syngenta and Chevron for negligence in manufacturing and selling the deadly defoliant.

Environmental groups representing farmworkers in Florida, Texas, and other agricultural states, say that hundreds of thousands of immigrant farmworkers were exposed to paraquat while working in the field during aerial paraquat spraying. The scale of the exposure represents a full-blown human health crisis. Paraquat continues to be applied to crops using aerial spraying over entire fields. Farmworkers that spend all day in the field are at maximum risk of being exposed to paraquat by skin contact and inhaling paraquat fumes. Earth Justice, a legal group representing the rights of immigrant farmworkers writes, "EPA determined that exposure to paraquat can damage the respiratory system, kidneys, and eyes, but EPA's final approval abandoned a proposed ban on most aerial applications of paraquat, leaving farmworkers who work in the fields exposed to unreasonable risks."

Farmworkers and farm communities are concerned that continuously breathing even low doses of paraquat may cause Parkinson's disease later in life. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently renewed the license for farms in the US to spray paraquat for the next 15 years. Paraquat was banned two years ago for use on golf courses, an admission by the EPA of the chemical's carcinogenic toxicity. The agency also acknowledged that paraquat spray drifts in the air and may contaminate the neighborhoods that surround paraquat farms by including a regulation that forces farmers to maintain a large buffer zone around the area where paraquat is sprayed to lessen paraquat air pollution in places where people live, work, and play.

Lawyers for Paraquat Lawsuits

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