Paraquat Lawsuit – Case Settlement Update

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Written By Rocky Horton

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Paraquat lawsuits involve the use of herbicide products that contain paraquat. The chemical’s full name, paraquat dichloride, is fatal when ingested. This danger, and whether the manufacturer or employer communicates it properly, is the basis for most paraquat lawsuits.

Recently, the paraquat herbicide has also been the subject of lawsuits involving people who claim that it can be dangerous even when used correctly. The pesticide is still legal, but multiple cases of paraquat poisoning have called its general safety into question.

If you believe that you or someone you know was injured or even killed by paraquat herbicide, we assembled this guide to help you clarify your options and make a game plan to get compensation for your injuries.

What is Paraquat?

The chemical called paraquat was discovered by Hugo Weidel and M. Russo, a teacher and student of chemistry in Austria, in 1882. They synthesized it as a solid compound but never clarified its use in the agriculture industry.

Paraquat herbicide was first formulated from the compound in the 1950s and became available for commercial use beginning in 1961. Despite some claims about its safety, it is one of the world’s most commonly sold and dispensed herbicides. However, in the United States, recent legal claims have led to paraquat being registered as a restricted substance. This means that only commercially licensed parties are allowed to dispense paraquat and they must be trained on its safety regulations beforehand.

Paraquat is sold in a liquid form. Though brown and unassuming in its natural state, it has been colored with blue dye to give it a distinct appearance to go with its naturally unpleasant odor. It is also often mixed with an emetic substance, which means that it induces vomiting.

This is to potentially protect anyone who swallows the herbicide, especially children, in an attempt to prevent them from dying of paraquat poisoning. Notably, paraquat herbicide that is made, sold, and applied in non-U.S. countries may not have these safety additions.

What is Paraquat Used For?

Paraquat chemical herbicide is used to kill weeds and control various invasive types of grass. It is sometimes known by the branded name, Gramoxone, marketed as an all-purpose weed killer. Paraquat is particularly known for its ability to control tough weed populations, such as those consisting of barnyard grass, Palmar amaranth, Italian ryegrass, morning glory, sickle pod, water hemp, and Florida beggarweed. These are all difficult to remove without an herbicide like paraquat.

When it dries, paraquat herbicide becomes “rainfast,” which means that it resists being washed off by the rain. This allows it to work in even adverse weather conditions, which washes away many other types of chemical herbicides.

In addition to its potential consumer use, paraquat is also used in the agriculture industry to desiccate certain crops before harvesting. This means it dries them out to prepare them to be picked. Cotton is a primary example of this use.

What Products Contain Paraquat?

Other than Gramoxone, many major herbicides contain paraquat, including those made by Syngenta, Chevron, Adama, Drexel, Altitude Crop Innovations, Helm Agro, and more. The individual products include Parazone, Para-Shot 3.0, Cyclone SL, Quick-Quat, Firestorm, Dexuron, Crisquat, Bonedry, Blanco, and Para-col.

Even if you don’t know which products apply to your paraquat lawsuit, there are several ways to spot a paraquat herbicide. Most produced in the United States are chemically tinted a blue color to make them more distinct. Paraquat also has a distinct chemical smell that makes it even more obvious.

These safety precautions are good reasons to buy pesticides from the United States, especially since foreign manufacturers could be more difficult to verify for a successful paraquat lawsuit.

Does Roundup Contain Paraquat?

The herbicide paraquat and the branded herbicide known as Roundup are similar in that they are both used in consumer and agriculture operations to kill tough types of weeds. However, they are not chemically the same.

While products like Gramoxone contain paraquat dichloride or paraquat, Roundup is based on glyphosate. Both compounds are potentially dangerous, with Roundup lawsuits notoriously taking billions of dollars from its parent company for victims who claim that regular use of Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and other cancers.

Though paraquat dichloride has not been as directly linked to cancer as glyphosate, a paraquat lawsuit is possible if you believe that you used the product as directed but were later diagnosed with a life-altering condition.

Paraquat Lawsuit

The paraquat lawsuit began with a study conducted by the National Institute of Health as well as the Environmental Health Sciences agency, both in 2011. This study linked the primary mechanism of paraquat to potential human injury by observing that the main compound could damage neurotransmitters through regular use.

The newly discovered dangers led to continued studies conducted by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), which issued restrictions on how paraquat could be sold and used. Importantly, the EPA reclassified paraquat as a restricted substance, but they have not banned it.

Though herbicide applicators must be licensed to use paraquat, regular industrial use of the chemical has been linked in some cases to multiple Parkinson’s diagnoses, leading to numerous paraquat lawsuits.

Paraquat Parkinson’s Claims

Paraquat poisoning can lead to death if ingested, but since the products containing it clearly denote its dangers, paraquat lawsuits are not usually the result of this type of poisoning. Instead, regular use of the herbicide, even when used as directed, has been linked to certain chronic conditions that are the subject of most paraquat lawsuits. The main one is Parkinson’s.

However, other illnesses have been reported such as kidney disease and pulmonary fibrosis. In addition to these chronic diseases, regular paraquat users can also experience symptoms such as choking, throat pain, coma, breathing problems, seizures, low blood pressure, stomach pain, and vomiting.

Tests that identify damage done by paraquat poisoning include blood tests, electrocardiograms, bronchoscopies, endoscopies, and chest x-rays.

Can You Sue Your Employer If You Used Paraquat at Work?

Due to paraquat’s status as a restricted substance, most of those who use the herbicide are those who use it regularly for work. This means that those who can sue their employer for paraquat poisoning are likely those who work in the farming or agricultural industries, especially those who use backpack applicators to dispense paraquat herbicide.

A failure to properly train or inform employees on the uses and dangers of paraquat can be used in a paraquat lawsuit to prove employer liability. This is especially true if employers do not go through the proper procedures for licensing and dispensing a restricted substance. Employer liability laws allow victims to hold their employers responsible for injuries related to paraquat if they got them as part of their job.

What is the Average Compensation for a Paraquat Lawsuit?

The average compensation for a paraquat lawsuit is between $10,000 and $200,000. The compensation amount is different for every case since paraquat poisoning affects everyone differently depending on their unique levels of exposure.

One of the main factors that changes the compensation amount is the neurological damage sustained and the costs related to it. This includes whether the victim requires help to get through the day and the medical expenses they have paid to diagnose and treat their unique condition.

Pain and suffering including depression and anguish resulting directly from injuries or loss of work can also factor into a paraquat settlement.

Who Can File a Paraquat Lawsuit?

Paraquat lawsuits must be filed before the statute of limitations expires, which differs between states. This means that you need to research personal injury restrictions for your state before filing. The statute could be anything from one to six years.

Experiencing symptoms of paraquat poisoning is a significant precursor to filing a paraquat lawsuit. They include breathing difficulties, throat burning, chest pain, dizziness, seizures, nausea, vomiting, and other signs of neurological distress.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you file a lawsuit using their knowledge of the statutes of limitations in their states as well as their knowledge of the symptoms related to paraquat poisoning.

How to File a Paraquat Lawsuit?

If you believe that you are a victim of paraquat poisoning and a company is responsible for your injuries, you may hope to file a paraquat lawsuit. In fact, no matter how you came in contact with paraquat, you could file a lawsuit for the health problems that you believe have resulted from your exposure.

You do not have to work in the agriculture industry or in a factory that manufactures paraquat to file a paraquat lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer can review your case to determine if your exposure and injuries are a valid basis for a settlement.

The paraquat lawsuits have not reached a settlement against a single corporate entity. They remain a mass tort, which is a group of related personal injury cases that are filed and settled separately. The amount of your compensation depends on the severity of your injuries and the evidence you can present in your defense.


Paraquat lawsuits encompass many companies and products. Those who suspect they are victims of paraquat poisoning experience a myriad of symptoms ranging from nausea and blurred vision to diagnosable conditions like Parkinson’s and kidney disease.

The symptoms experienced vary proportionally to the victim’s exposure to the herbicide as well as the methods with which it is dispensed. Due to the complexity of these experiences, the settlements surrounding paraquat lawsuits vary widely from around $10,000 to $200,000 and up.

Though the herbicide has been around since the 1950s and is still not a banned chemical, it has been reclassified as restricted, which means that those who dispense it have to be authenticated and trained. This has led to greater awareness of the potential dangers of paraquat herbicides, even when used as directed.

A direct link between Parkinson’s and paraquat poisoning has not been scientifically proven, but studies are being done discovering links between herbicide exposure and neurodegeneration. This has led to paraquat lawsuits that are changing how people use, store, and manufacture this herbicide.If you believe that you have been negatively affected by the use of paraquat-based herbicides, you can contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn your options and how you can file for compensation for your injuries.

Rocky Horton

Rocky Horton


Rocky Horton is a health and safety expert from Chapel Hill, NC. He is the founder of AccidentAdvisor and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, and other publications. Learn more.