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Did you know that railroad workers are one of the occupational groups with the highest risk of exposure to paraquat? Paraquat, an effective weed-killer, has been used to keep weeds and grass off of train tracks since the 1970s. As a result, many railroad workers have developed a serious nervous system disorder called Parkinson’s disease.
What is Paraquat?
Paraquat is a widely and commercially-used herbicide. It is one of the most effective chemicals for preventing weed and grass growth. In addition, it can kill plants that have become resistant to glyphosate, another commonly-used herbicide.
Introduced as an herbicide in the 1960s, paraquat dichloride was immediately recognized as a toxic chemical that could cause serious illness if ingested, even in small amounts. However, because paraquat is so effective at killing weeds and other plants, it is widely used in agriculture and other industries. Many people are exposed to paraquat while on the job, such as:
- Herbicide applicators
- Chemical mixers
- Tank fillers
Additionally, people who live around farming communities and other areas sprayed with paraquat can face exposure to the dangerous chemical.
Railroad Workers and Paraquat Exposure
Railroads require vegetation maintenance to keep tracks clear of weeds, grass, and other plants. Keeping the tracks clear of vegetation is vital for trains to function properly, so many railroad companies choose to use paraquat as an herbicide. Unfortunately, that means that thousands of railroad workers have been exposed to paraquat.
The railroad workers who spray paraquat normally mix the chemical with water and pour it into backpack sprayers or spray units, which are short trains that have spraying devices. Then, they spray the tracks and surrounding railroad equipment with the herbicide. This, unfortunately, can lead to paraquat exposure for the spray unit operators, railroad maintenance workers, and other railroad workers.
Is Paraquat Toxic?
Paraquat is a very toxic chemical. In fact, paraquat is so dangerous that it has been banned or restricted in dozens of countries across the globe. The European Union (EU) also banned paraquat use in 2007. The EU banned the substance because it deemed paraquat as too dangerous for European farmers even when wearing protective equipment. Other countries that have banned paraquat include:
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
Although paraquat use is not banned In the U.S., workers who spray paraquat must have a license.
What Health Problems Can Paraquat Cause?
Additionally, exposure to paraquat can cause many health problems, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also found that ingesting paraquat can lead to failure in the liver, lungs, heart and kidneys for up to 30 days after exposure. Paraquat can also be dangerous if a person is exposed through inhalation. Repeatedly breathing in paraquat can lead to lung damage, kidney failure, heart failure and esophageal strictures. Further, long-term exposure to paraquat may also lead to lung and eye damage.
The main disease linked to paraquat is Parkinson’s disease, which is an incurable and debilitating progressive nervous system disorder. Experts have conducted numerous studies on the connection between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, showing a strong link. In addition, exposure to paraquat within 1,600 feet increases a person’s risk of Parkinson’s by 75%.
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement, often including tremors. The characteristics of Parkinson’s disease includes:
- slowness in movement
- difficulties with balance and walking
Further, Parkinson’s disease often leads to other symptoms such as loss of smell, constipation, sleep disorders, and depression.
A person diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the U.S. can spend, on average, $26,4000 per year on health care. These medical bills can add up quickly, leaving a person with significant medical debt. A paraquat lawsuit can help provide a solution for those struggling with both the physical and financial burden of a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
Our firm has been handling FELA claims for railroads workers for decades. Further, we’ve helped workers recover millions of dollars in chemical exposure lawsuits. While Railroad Paraquat Lawsuits will be against paraquat manufacturers, we are a team skilled in representing workers in the toughest moments. If you or someone you love worked on or near railroads and has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, contact a Paraquat Lawsuit Lawyer today. Our paraquat lawyers have years of experience and will fight for you tirelessly. We care, and we can help.