Nowadays, most people are familiar with the horrific health effects of substances such as asbestos, lead paint and other once-common household chemicals. Fortunately, use of these toxic substances is on the decline, and they cause fewer deaths now than ever before.
However, other substances – such as Paraquat – are still causing far too many premature deaths in our country. If you or someone you know has worked with or near Paraquat in the past, here’s what to know.
What is Paraquat?
Paraquat is a powerful chemical herbicide used to kill weeds and other unwanted plants. It is not like household herbicides you can buy at a gardening store. Paraquat is so toxic that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classified it as a restricted substance. Only specially trained personnel can handle and apply it.
Unfortunately, its restricted status does not mean you will never come in contact with it. Paraquat is commonly sprayed in places such as train tracks, agricultural plants and fields.
What harm does it cause?
Paraquat is corrosive to the skin and eyes if you come in physical contact with it in its liquid form. Getting even a small amount of the liquid in your mouth can be fatal, with no known antidotes.
Even after Paraquat is properly applied to the ground, it continues to be dangerous. If you enter an area treated with Paraquat and breathe it in, it can cause severe neurological damage. There is extensive evidence that Paraquat exposure can cause Parkinson’s Disease and other similar neurological conditions.
What can I do if I am exposed?
The first thing you should do is undergo a thorough medical examination. If you have Paraquat-induced nerve damage, it’s best to catch it early, so you can begin proper treatment.
Also consult an attorney to explore your legal options. It’s possible that you may be able to seek compensation for your injury from the party responsible for your harmful exposure. This compensation could be what you need to finance your ongoing medical treatments and meet your needs.
Paraquat exposure is a serious issue in our country that few know about. If you or a loved one regularly work with or near Paraquat, take proper steps to protect yourselves from its tragic effects.