Paraquat: A Pesticide That’s Linked To Parkinson’s Disease Has Its Maker Facing Over A Dozen Lawsuits

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Paraquat is a highly toxic pesticide. There is strong evidence from many scientific studies that have linked paraquat to Parkinson’s. This includes a U.S. government study of dozens of farmers conducted in 2011, which demonstrated that agricultural workers who used paraquat were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s as farmers who didn’t use it. 

Syngenta, a Swiss chemical company that’s owned by a Chinese chemical corporation—China National Chemical Corporation or ChemChina—introduced paraquat to the market in 1964. 

As reported on US Right To Know (USRTK), lawyers who have sued or are in the process of suing Syngenta, are asking a multi-district judicial panel to consolidate over a dozen paraquat lawsuits. If the consolidation is granted by a federal judge in Northern California, it could pave the way for hundreds, if not thousands of farmers allegedly harmed by paraquat to also file suits. 

Thus far, 14 paraquat lawsuits have been filed by eight different firms spanning six different federal courts in the U.S., USRTK reports. 

Plaintiffs allege that they developed Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disorder, because of paraquat, which like the more publicized herbicide, Roundup, is used as a broadleaf weed killer. 

In addition to the 14 paraquat suits filed at the federal level, others have been filed in state courts. 

According to a tweet by attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., “Internal documents show Syngenta scientists knew they could save lives by making tweaks to paraquat weedkiller, but chose to save money instead. Documents also expose the company’s efforts to cover up evidence that paraquat causes Parkinson’s Disease.”

Also named as a defendant is Chevron (Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.). According to USRTK, Chevron distributed and sold paraquat in the U.S. starting in 1962 when it entered an agreement with the Syngenta predecessor and paraquat inventor, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). Chevron had the rights to manufacture, use and sell paraquat formulations in the U.S.

Next month, a Paraquat case—Hoffman v. Syngenta—filed at the state level in Illinois is scheduled for trial. The status conference for the case will occur at the end of April. 

Missouri lawyer Steve Tillery represents several paraquat plaintiffs, including Hoffman. USRTK says he has accumulated evidence that includes internal company records showing Syngenta has known for decades that its product causes Parkinson’s Disease.

“They shouldn’t be selling this product, said Tillery on “This chemical should be off the market.”

Another firm that will represent paraquat plaintiffs is the Virginia-based Miller firm, which was instrumental in defeating Monsanto in court, which ultimately would lead to Monsanto-owner Bayer AG’s $11 billion Roundup settlement

According to, research shows that paraquat can also ruin sense of smell even at low doses. Furthermore, paraquat has been shown to negatively impact respiratory health in farmers adds, “Less than a shot glass of the pesticide is enough to kill a grown adult, and there have been far too many instances of accidental poisonings.”

The website, The Intercept, recently revealed the Paraquat Papers, which contains internal documents that reveal how Syngenta covered up its failure to prevent paraquat poisonings. Nonetheless, paraquat was granted another 15-year extension as an approved pesticide by the EPA last year.

Update – May 10, 2021 – According to US Right To Know, the highly-anticipated first-ever trial pitting farmers against Paraquat inventor, Syngenta AG has been delayed until June.

This article was originally posted April 15, 2021.

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