EPA Expands Paraquat Sales

by | Aug 17, 2021 | Products Liability

Paraquat, a chemical which has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, is the most toxic pesticide known to mankind. Nevertheless, the Environmental Protection Agency has authorized additional paraquat uses.

The Trump EPA reauthorized paraquat sales after a brief pause. In this latest move, the Biden EPA approved aerial spraying. The agency relied heavily on data provided by chemical companies to support its move. “With this recent move, the Biden EPA has endorsed the continued crop dusting of American food and farmland with paraquat, a chemical that is strongly linked to Parkinson’s disease, and can kill an individual with a single sip,” noted Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides. 

“This is an economic decision – one that aims to maintain the profits of chemical companies at the expense of farmworker lives and livelihood. Americans should be ashamed of their taxpayer dollars being used to support this dangerous action,” he added.

Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease

More than likely, you have never heard of methyl phenyl tetrahydropyridine. MPTP, which scientists discovered in the mid 1970s, is a dangerous chemical which kills brain cells and lowers dopamine levels. So, this chemical is closely associated with Parkinson’s disease, a condition which scientists previously believed was almost exclusively age-related. Today, researchers often inject test subjects with minute amounts of MPTP, so they can hopefully find a cure for this disease.

Until the 1990s, scientists believed that MPTP primarily existed in heroin and some other illegal drugs. Suddenly, in 1997, the EPA announced that Paraquat, a commercial pesticide and herbicide, also contained high levels of MPTP. According to the new research, anyone who lived or worked within about 1,600 feet, or five football fields, of a farm, ranch, or other entity which used Paraquat had a 75 percent greater chance of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Initial symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, a condition which attacks the central nervous system, include hand tremors and difficulty walking. When the disease reaches advanced stages, it resembles dementia. Life expectancy following a Parkinson’s diagnosis is less than fifteen years. 

Although there is no cure, a combination of drugs, surgery, and physical therapy can either extend patient life expectancy or at least make it easier for them to function during their remaining years.

Government Regulation of Dangerous Products

The EPA and other watchdog agencies no longer have very much bite. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food, drug, and medical device safety, is a good example. User fees make up almost half of the FDA’s budget. In other words, it is financially dependent on the companies it’s supposed to regulate. There is a natural tendency not to bite the hand which feeds you. Therefore, the FDA only issues recalls as a last resort.

Additionally, although recalls may protect consumers, they do nothing to give victims the compensation they need to deal with the injuries they sustained.

More to the point, government regulators do not protect victims. These entities must balance a number of interests. Consumer safety is just one of these interests. In contrast, a Lexington personal injury attorney is dedicated exclusively to victims and their families. So, victims need lawyers. But how do they pick the right one?

Choosing the Right Lawyer

At first, most personal injury attorneys in Lexington look the same. But after a closer inspection, some big differences emerge. These distinctions could be the difference between maximum compensation for a serious injury and settling for less. So, when you seriously evaluate attorneys, pay close attention to the following:

  • Accessibility: This quality might be the most important one. Goldilocks looked for a chair, bowl of soup, and bed that was just right. You also want a “just right” lawyer in terms of accessibility. If the lawyer has time to see you at the drop of a hat, there’s probably a reason s/he isn’t very busy. On the other end of the scale, if a lawyer is crazy busy, s/he might assign your case to a less-experienced associate or even a non-lawyer paralegal.
  • Dedication: Beware of lawyers who just handle a few injury cases on the side. These attorneys often try to take the easy way out. As a rule of thumb, your lawyer should devote at least 50 percent of his/her practice to personal injury matters.
  • Experience: Your serious injury case is far too valuable to be a training tool for an inexperienced lawyer. There are procedural and other rules which are not taught in law school. Be advised that years of experience could be deceptive. Many attorneys practice personal injury law for years and hardly ever take cases to trial. So, when push comes to shove, these lawyers lack experience.

It’s important to shop around for an attorney, but it’s also important not to take too long. Legally, you have a limited amount of time to act in these situations. Furthermore, as a practical matter, the sooner an attorney gets started, the better the final results usually are.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. After-hours visits are available. #goodelawyers