Paraquat is a popular herbicide used extensively throughout the United States to kill weeds since its introduction on the market in the early 1960s. In 2017, 11 million pounds of paraquat were used in the U.S. and the numbers keep growing. Global sales of paraquat in 2019 were approximately $10.5 billion dollars. Due to its toxicity, paraquat has been banned in many countries, including Brazil, China and the European Union, but it continues to be sold in the U.S. The chemical has been linked to the development of Parkinson’s Disease in those exposed to it.

Paraquat is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a “restricted use pesticide,” which is used by no-till farmers, road crews and others to kill weeds. It is also used as a desiccant for tobacco and cotton. It is poisonous and just a small sip can be fatal. Studies over the past two decades indicate a strong causal link between exposure to paraquat and the subsequent development of Parkinson’s Disease. Researchers often use an injection of paraquat in mice or other animals to provoke Parkinsonism in them in the lab so that the disease can be studied.

Case Review

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