February 17, 2021—San Diego, CA. Recent studies in both European counties and in America have many asking if this widely used chemical used to kill weeds is toxic and linked to Parkinson’s disease.
Paraquat was first manufactured, marketed and sold by Imperial Chemical Industries in early 1962 under the trade name Gramoxone. It has been a widely used herbicidal weed killer on farms and other agricultural regions.
Many may recall that in the 1970’s the U.S. Government sent paraquat to authorities in Mexico to kill illegal cannabis (marijuana) growing operations.
Currently paraquat is not allowed to be sold in the European Union, and loosely restricted in the United States. It’s widely used in Asia and many third world counties.
Today paraquat is contained and sold in various brand name products that include, Blanco, Bonfire Herbicide, Devour, Firestorm, Helmquat, Para-SHOT, Paraquat, Parazone, and Quik-Quat.
These studies, source links provided at the bottom of this article, indicates that Paraquat kills cells via a process called oxidative stress, however it is currently unknown how this process happens.
The studies examined genes involved in part of the mechanism paraquat uses to produce oxidants; it’s these oxidants that cause stress in cells. The researchers focused on a region of the brain known as the substantia nigra pars compacta because this region may be more at risk for oxidative stress.
“Certain people with genetic mutations could have high levels of this gene. They would be very susceptible to paraquat poisoning while working on a farm, for example” quoted Navdeep Chandel, PhD.https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-10-technique-herbicide-link-parkinson-disease.html
“We thought it was a metabolic protein that paraquat was activating to generate oxidants,” Chandel said. “So we localized our work to the 3,000 genes that encode for metabolic proteins, rather than the 18,000 to 20,000 genes human cells have in total.”
Research done in 2009 by the American Journal of Epidemiology pointed out that any exposure to paraquat within 1,600 feet of a home resulted in a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease at 75%.
In June 2001, the Environmental Health Perspectives looked into whether pesticides that cause mitochondrial dysfunction or oxidative stress are associated with PD or clinical features of parkinsonism in humans.
Their conclusions stated: “PD was positively associated with two groups of pesticides defined by mechanisms implicated experimentally—those that impair mitochondrial function and those that increase oxidative stress—supporting a role for these mechanisms in PD pathophysiology.”
Since learning about the problems with this toxic chemical paraquat, the Schmidt National Law Group is currently investigating and hoping to bring to light this problem for all farmers, agricultural workers, field maintenance workers and others who may have had exposure to this chemical.
Currently there is no class action lawsuit for paraquat, but very much like Monsanto’s RoundUp cancer lawsuit, we are closely watching these developing studies.
Post updated on February 19, 2021