Due to concerns that it can cause significant adverse health effects, a widely used commercial herbicide known as Paraquat is finally being recalled. Throughout its nearly 60 years of history, Paraquat’s purpose was to kill and control weeds in commercial agricultural settings.
There are many concerns about the health effects that can come with exposure to the chemical, chief among them being Parkinson’s Disease. Although nearly 32 countries have banned Paraquat, it wasn’t until a few years ago that the U.S. looked into what exposure can cause. What it found is what so many around the world already knew: Paraquat can cause all sorts of severe symptoms and may even be responsible for Parkinson’s diagnoses.
Symptoms of Paraquat Exposure
As previously mentioned, there are several important symptoms that can follow exposure to Paraquat:
- Breathing problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Muscle fatigue
- Racing heart rate
- Skin and eye irritation
These symptoms can appear after prolonged exposure to the herbicide, usually over the course of several years. This means that those who live or work around this chemical may be at risk of developing adverse health effects.
Paraquat Exposure & Parkinson’s Disease
In addition to the symptoms listed above, prolonged Paraquat exposure is linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease, a central nervous system disorder. Those with Parkinson’s experience difficulty with movement, balance, and coordination. They may also exhibit tremors in their hands, stiffness in legs or arms, impaired balance, or unusually slow movement and reflexes.
Eventually, those who develop Parkinson’s may have severe difficulty with other motor functions, like walking and talking.
Who Is at Risk from Paraquat Exposure?
Because Paraquat is a commercial herbicide, those who may be at most risk from its exposure include agricultural workers, farmers, commercial landscapers, and forestry workers. Even crop dusters, tank fillers, chemical mixers, and others who are involved in the application of Paraquat are also afflicted.