People can be exposed to paraquat through ingestion, inhalation, and skin-absorption. Besides causing burns, the herbicide is known as a possible cause of birth defects and cancer. Paraquat has also been shown to significantly increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in farmworkers and others suffering occupational exposure.
The risk of exposure also reaches those who live within 1,600 feet of paraquat use, as well as to family members of workers who come in frequent contact with materials in vehicles and furniture that are touched by the clothing of exposed workers. Ingestion is particularly lethal. A single sip can be fatal. There is no antidote.
Due to its high environmental and human toxicity, the weed killer paraquat is only available for use in the United States by commercially licensed users. Only individuals who have completed an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved training program can mix, load, or apply Paraquat.
Exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by more than 200%. Paraquat exposure is also linked to:
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