‘The future is organic’: New analysis argues against increased use of paraquat

Miguel Leyva of Independent Media Institute argues that despite higher prices of organic food in the US and agricultural policy changes suggesting otherwise, the future of agriculture is organic and paraquat-free. Legal and environmental activists hope upcoming litigation will deter corporations from continuing to use paraquat. 

Leyva argues “eating organic is undoubtedly the future, as most nonorganic produce contains significant traces of toxic pesticides such as paraquat that inevitably accumulate in our bodies over time, being able to trigger severe diseases in the future”. Paraquat has been noted as a contributing factor to the development of Parkinson’s Disease in individuals who were exposed directly to the herbicide.

Recent changes in EPA policy have allowed agricultural organizations to acquire licenses for paraquat use. To many organizations, paraquat has led to an optimization of produce through elimination of broad-leaf weeds in their fields. This optimization is overshadowed by the danger the lethal herbicide poses on the workers who tend to the fields, however, as many of these workers have suffered from medical complications after exposure to paraquat.  

These medical complications have led to nearly 700 paraquat-related lawsuits to be filed across the US. Plaintiffs from every state are filing claims against paraquat manufacturers in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Despite being early on in the litigation process, many legal experts are hopeful that most cases will result in impressive settlements. 

Ronald V. Miller of Lawsuit Information Center offered some insight on the legal community’s general stance on paraquat lawsuits in an article published on the Center’s website at the beginning of March 2022. 

Miller stated, “It is early in the Paraquat litigation so settlement compensation payouts are speculative.  But we can look at other similar injuries to try to get a settlement range if plaintiffs’ lawyers are successful, as expected, in this litigation.” 

Although it is too soon to say anything for certain, most legal experts are anticipating litigation to work out in favor of the plaintiffs filing claims. Environmental organizations hope that the settlements paraquat-using corporations would be responsible for paying will outweigh any profits they may see due to their use of paraquat in the first place. 

In a perfect world, the litigation for paraquat lawsuits would indirectly lead to disinvestment in paraquat products. In reality, only as more paraquat cases are settled will we understand whether or not the future will be healthier and paraquat-free. 

Make sure to seek consultation if you or a loved one were impacted after being exposed to paraquat. For all you know, you could contribute to holding the corporations who use paraquat responsible for their irresponsibility.