Understanding Paraquat Poisoning

Paraquat is a chemical herbicide used in the United States and other countries to kill weeds and control grass growth in agricultural areas and along trails or railroad tracks. It is also referred to by its brand name, which is Gramoxone and manufactured by Syngenta. Syngenta’s headquarters is in Switzerland despite the fact that the country bans the chemical’s use. Overall, 22 countries worldwide prohibit the use of paraquat. 

Parkinson’s disease is linked to paraquat use, as is fatal poisoning. Although this herbicide is common, many people do not know or take proper precautions to prevent poisoning, resulting in severe injury or death. Let’s look at paraquat and paraquat poisoning in depth.

Olinde Law Firm

Our lawyers have an excellent track record when dealing with large corporations that sacrifice safety over profit. We investigate each claim with the diligence you expect and put together a robust case against the defendant. If you were injured by using paraquat, call us at (800) 587-1889 to schedule a free case review. We will answer your questions and tell you about your options moving forward. 

Paraquat Use

Gramoxone and its generic equivalents are the most commonly used weed killers worldwide. In the United States, only those trained and licensed to use paraquat are allowed to do so. Those who apply paraquat are at significant risk of developing Parkinson’s or being poisoned. However, people who reside in the area where it is used are also at risk.

Paraquat Poisoning Small to Medium Amount of Weedkiller

People who ingest or inhale even a small amount of paraquat can develop symptoms of significant poisoning. The effects happen very quickly after the poison is absorbed. Because of this, symptoms develop quickly also. Recognizing the symptoms of paraquat poisoning and taking action is instrumental in halting the individual’s downward progression and ultimate death. Some of the most common initial symptoms after a toxic amount of the herbicide are:

  • Mouth and throat swelling due to direct contact with the mucosal areas
  • Mouth pain
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea that may be bloody
  • Low blood pressure due to dehydration caused by the G.I. symptoms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nosebleeds

After several weeks, the person’s condition will worsen, and they can experience the following:

  • Multiple organ failure
  • Lung scarring
  • Respiratory failure
  • Cardiac failure
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure

Exposure to Large Amounts of Paraquat

When a large amount of paraquat is ingested, severe symptoms occur. The symptoms often appear within several hours or days. The symptoms are:

  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Respiratory failure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Kidney failure
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Liver failure
  • Lung scarring 
  • Coma 

Why Does Paraquat Cause Poisoning?

Paraquat poisoning is usually linked to ingesting the herbicide either directly while working with it or eating food or beverages that are contaminated. Previously, marijuana, contaminated with paraquat, caused poisoning. In addition, workers can inhale enough of the herbicide to cause significant lung scarring. 

Workers using paraquat can become poisoned by direct contact with the substance. The effects of direct skin exposure are greater if the person has cuts or sores and the concentration of paraquat is high. 

Treatment of Paraquat Poisoning

It is essential to seek medical help as soon as possible. If poisoning was due to agricultural use, make sure to bring the label off the container with you to the hospital. If you ingested paraquat, bring a sample of the food you ate.

Several treatment modalities are used, including:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Hyperperfusion
  • Hydration 
  • Monitor of body systems over time

The longer it has been since the poisoning occurred, the harder it is to treat paraquat poisoning effectively.

Olinde Law Firm

The bottom line is that users of paraquat are not provided with the warnings necessary to handle such a dangerous substance. In addition, the manufacturer, knowing the dangers of the herbicide, continues to produce the product. 

A product liability lawsuit will help an individual obtain the compensation they deserve and help a family who loses a loved one recover their financial loss. In this case, punitive damages may apply that are used to punish the company. Call the Olinde Law Firm today at (800) 587-1889, or reach out to us online. We are here to help when you need us most.