by Miguel Leva
Many countries have banned paraquats around the world, but the United States has not yet taken this action. Although it is sold under many names, farmers can usually buy herbicides from stores such as Gramoxone, which is manufactured by Syngenta.
Paraquat is one of the deadliest weed killers in existence, and is at the same time a profitable insecticide and a dangerous chemical that causes violent deaths. Research has also linked paraquat to Parkinson’s disease, which will eventually affect 1.2 million Americans by 2030, According to the Parkinson’s Foundation. There is substantial information from studies and research that proves that a toxic herbicide causes Parkinson’s disease in susceptible individuals.
Farm owners and workers know to be careful about the pesticide because of the warnings throughout the label about how toxic this substance is to humans.
Paraquat is not only highly toxic but also fast acting. A small amount of poison can kill a human. For this reason, users are careful not to splash or spill even the smallest amounts of herbicide.
However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been slow to ban this substance entirely. Although they currently fall into the category of RUPs (Restricted Chemical Use) and can only be applied by trained people who have a license to use them, the agency is hesitant for one reason or another when it comes to payment.
This chemical is dangerous, but farmers who still use it to keep weeds off their crops and make more money, as a result, are still willing to take the risks.
As agricultural workers encounter more resistant weeds, the most commonly used herbicide in agriculture today is glyphosate ineffective. For example, from Ohio to Indiana, in the Midwest states, seaweed is a disaster. This situation leaves many people turning to paraquat as a solution but wondering how to keep up with crop production for future generations.
Southern states are on the front lines in a battle over the use of Dicamba, the herbicide that agricultural producers have relied on for far too long. No-till farming is gaining momentum in the United States as more farmers realize its many benefits. Thus, there is a shift towards the use of paraquat, which enables them to manage weeds with less tillage.
Paraquat is banned in many countries
The European Union, China and 30 other countries have banned paraquat. This fact should be enough to raise some concerns about the toxicity of the herbicide here at home. Since 2007 Europeans have decided to stop using the dangerous chemical in their endless quest to keep the population and the continent healthy. The union made this decision after research discovered its connection to Parkinson’s disease.
Information on the risks arising from exposure to herbicides has been published For many years now. Thus, the Environment Agency has long taken an interest in this topic. In 1997 they reported that people get the most exposure For paraquat when preparing the item and after applying it, such as to clean up spills or dispose of food scraps in its environment.
Although the agency has banned the use of the herbicide in residential areas, it has found that, nevertheless, it can harm individuals who live in rural areas where workers can spray it.
Studies link paraquat exposure to Parkinson’s disease
The dangers of exposure to pesticides have long been known. In April 2009, Article in the peer-reviewed journal AJE Significantly raise awareness about the risks of developing Parkinson’s disease from paraquat. This article was significant because it analyzed 368 cases of Parkinson’s disease from California against a population of 341 people.
The paper concluded that there is a relationship between the use of a toxic herbicide in agricultural fields and disease among the population. Moreover, the authors said that the presence of the herbicide within 500 meters of residential areas increased by 75% the risk of residents developing Parkinson’s disease.
The researchers created a complex tool to assess exposure to paraquat from land use data, pesticide use reports, geographic mapping technology, and most importantly, medical records of people who live near farmland where these pesticides are used.
In another important article from 2011, the research subject was 110 people with Parkinson’s disease who were also farm workers. After exposure to paraquat, the result was that workers were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than previously; Why was this
Another paper from June 2011 It was concluded that there is a strong link between the herbicide and Parkinson’s disease. An article examining the genetic makeup of individuals exposed to Paraquat and risk of developing Parkinson’s disease concluded that those with specific genetic variation were 11 times more likely to develop the disease.
Exposure to a toxic herbicide is more common among people who have used or handled it. However, Pregnant women living near farmland that has been sprayed with paraquat تعرض It poses a particular danger because they are more at risk during pregnancy than at any other stage in life: the developing fetus’s brain cells can suffer permanent damage from exposure.
Therefore, we now have access to extensive research showing strong associations between exposure to paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.
Syngenta did not warn farmers about the dangers of Parkinson’s disease
Many people do not understand how the EPA and agricultural science and technology companies operate. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to find and inform the public of adverse health outcomes once the product has been approved by the agency. Accountability goes into approving things less than one would expect from an organization of this caliber.
Findings that report new risks can be internal reports or studies. Chemical manufacturers must notify the public of these newly discovered risks. However, they often do not fulfill their obligations which puts us all at risk.
The law also regulates the chemical industry. If they do not produce a product that is safe — and if a company can improve its safety standards but chooses not to do so — they can be held accountable.
In a dramatic turn of events that worries many people for their safety, it is now known that John Hillings – formerly responsible for research on paraquats — Now speaking against Syngenta.
The former chief toxicologist says Syngenta was aware of the many health risks associated with paraquat and was told how to produce the herbicide in a safer form but did nothing to implement such safety changes.
With the number of farmers suffering from a disease caused by paraquat exponentially increasing, many are now fighting to find justice in state courts against the manufacturers. They are now seeking reparations and relief from the debilitating disease caused by these toxic chemicals for years.
Along with Syngenta, the defendants in these lawsuits are important manufacturers, such as Chevron USA.
Miguel Leva is Atraxia case manager. Miguel collects information about paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease for farmers and workers with disabilities caused by paraquat exposure, all in addition to supporting their family members.