Minnesota farmers have developed incurable Parkinson’s disease from use of Paraquat herbicides.

May 14, 2021

Lockridge Grindal Nauen (LGN) law firm attorney Yvonne Flaherty, filed a complaint for damages suit in United States District Court, in the District of Minnesota in Rysavy v. Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC; Syngenta AG; Chevron U.S.A., Inc.; and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP.

The case is based on the wrongful conduct of Syngenta Crop Protection and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company in connection with the development, manufacture, testing, packaging, promotion, marketing, advertising, distribution, and sale of paraquat dichloride, also known as Paraquat, the active ingredient in several herbicide products, including Gramoxone®, that are now known to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

“Paraquat is a highly toxic chemical that is known to be threatening to the health of the users during spraying and application,” said Yvonne Flaherty, Lockridge Grindal Nauen attorney, “Our farmers and farm workers trusted Syngenta and Chevron Phillips when they were told these chemicals were safe when used as directed.  We are now seeing the serious health consequences when those facts do not hold true.”

Since 1964, Paraquat has been used in the United States to kill broadleaf weeds and grasses before the planting or emergence of more than 100 field, fruit, vegetable, and plantation crops, to control weeds in orchards, and to desiccate (dry) plants before harvest. Paraquat has been banned in 32 countries across the world, including the European Union and China.  It has not been banned in the United States. A 2011 study by the National Institutes of Health found that people exposed to paraquat are approximately 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.

Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year. According to researchers, the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease is severely underestimated. Moreover, the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease is particularly significant in the Midwest. 3

Epidemiological studies have also found that exposure to Paraquat significantly increases the risk of contracting Parkinson’s disease. A number of studies have found that the risk of Parkinson’s disease is more than double in populations with occupational exposure to Paraquat compared to populations without such exposure. Additionally, a March 2, 2016 EPA memorandum acknowledges the numerous studies linking Paraquat to Parkinson’s disease and states “[t]here is a large body of epidemiology data on paraquat dichloride use and Parkinson’s disease.” 4

“These corporations created, marketed and sold a product that is now linked to a serious, life-altering illness – for which there is no cure,” said LGN attorney Flaherty, “We believe those corporations should be held accountable and they should help the victims of Paraquat as they struggle with resulting medical expenses, pain and suffering.”

Action on the case is expected in June of 2021.

For more information about this case contact:

Yvonne Flaherty – Partner
Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.
Suite 2200
100 Washington Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401-2159
Telephone: 612-339-6900

About Paraquat
Paraquat is commonly sprayed to control weeds in orchards or on farms with multiple crops planted on the same land within a single growing season or year. Users generally apply Paraquat with a knapsack sprayer, hand-held sprayer, aircraft crop duster, truck with attached pressurized tank, or tractor-drawn pressurized tank. Paraquat is a common alternative for weeds or plants that have become resistant to glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. Paraquat is frequently used in no-till farming.

Products that contain Paraquat as an active ingredient may be known to growers under many brand names, e.g., (Gramoxone®, Paraquat, Firestorm®, Para-SHOT®, Parazone ®, Quick-Quat®, Helmquat®, Cyclone SL®, Bonedry®, Devour®, ParaQ®).

About Lockridge Grindal Nauen
For nearly 40 years, Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P. has served clients throughout the Midwest and in Washington, D.C. The attorneys and lobbyists have extensive experience in local, state, and federal government relations as well as antitrust, business, campaign finance, consumer, data breach, governmental, health care, employment, environmental, ERISA, intellectual property, real estate, securities, and tribal law and litigation.

Clients include local and tribal governments, health care professionals and organizations, real estate developers, energy companies, telecommunications providers, casualty insurers, trade and industry associations, health and pension funds, unions, as well as issue-based coalitions.

Lockridge Grindal Nauen’s attorneys and government relations professionals are assisted by an extensive support staff. The firm has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bismarck, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C.

3 See https://www.neurologyadvisor.com/topics/movement-disorders/parkinson-disease- prevalence-severely-underestimated-parkinsons-foundation-prevalence-project/, last visited on April 26, 2021.

4 Environmental Protection Agency, Paraquat Dichloride; Proposed Mitigation Decision (March 2, 2016), https:/www.regulations.gov/document/EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0855-0031.