Syngenta sees claims increase: Link to Parkinson’s, surfacing lawsuits claim

Syngenta, a major agricultural corporation and a top distributor of paraquat in the US, sees profit grow despite an increase of lawsuits claiming health disparities, like Parkinson’s Disease, and more, could be linked to exposure of paraquat near work and residential areas. 

The company reported a 27% increase in third-quarter profit from 2020 to 2021 in an article published on their website. 

Syngenta’s response to the increase in lawsuits? The corporation denied responsibility, citing various state law provisions in asking the court to dismiss new claims “for breach of warranty, fraud, and violation of certain consumer protection statutes.” Despite it’s denial, Syngenta may need to use it’s increase in profits to either defend itself against the claims of plaintiffs or simply pay whatever settlements a court may require of them. Only time will tell if hundreds of developing paraquat lawsuits and their potential settlements are enough to alter the growing use of the lethal chemical in the US. 

A report from the US Department of the Interior noted an increase in paraquat usage specifically in US soybean fields. From the years 2012 to 2018, use of paraquat herbicides more than quadrupled in the US. It only makes sense that greater use of lethal chemicals on farmlands led to greater chances of life-threatening diseases for those who consume the impacted field’s produce. The increased use of the chemical has been noted in several studies as a direct cause of debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s Disease. 

Recent paraquat lawsuits have described the impacts of the herbicide on plaintiffs. One specific paraquat lawsuit for plaintiff George Isaak states explicit connection between paraquat use and the development of Parkinson’s Disease. The lawsuit explains that the herbicide was a “substantial factor in causing Plaintiff George Isaak to suffer severe and permanent physical injuries, pain, mental anguish, and disability, and will continue to do so for the remainder of Plaintiff George Isaak’s life.” The lawsuit’s claims were reported by US Right to Know contributor Carey Gillam.

Environmental activists hope that former federal restrictions on use of paraquat, of which were scaled back in the past few years, will be reestablished as the amount of paraquat-related lawsuits grow. However, as agricultural corporations increase their profit and expand their influence over the issue, chances of former restrictions being reapplied seem slim.

To counteract the crisis, those exposed to the herbicide can seek legal consultation to determine any potential settlements owed. That way, the courts can continue to put pressure on the corporations who use paraquat to find safer alternatives.