Symposium Scheduled for Veterans with Parkinson’s Disease from Herbicide Exposure, Other Environmental Factors
Written by Faith Anderson on February 17, 2021
The Parkinson’s Foundation and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in South Carolina are hosting a virtual symposium next month for all veterans with Parkinson’s disease across the United States. The symposium, which is slated for March 20, is part of a coordinated effort to help veterans and their loved ones understand the latest advances in Parkinson’s treatment and the numerous Parkinson’s resources available through the VA and the Parkinson’s Foundation. It is also important for those who have been diagnosed with a debilitating disease like Parkinson’s allegedly caused by exposure to toxic herbicides and their family members to understand their legal rights and options in possibly pursuing a product liability lawsuit against the herbicide manufacturer.
Link Between Agent Orange and Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurological disorder in the U.S., behind Alzheimer’s disease. There are approximately one million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease and a disproportionate number of these individuals are veterans. While the exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, research suggests that the high rate of Parkinson’s diagnoses among veterans could be a result of exposure to toxic herbicides like Agent Orange during their military service. Agent Orange is a tactical herbicide and defoliant chemical widely used by the U.S. military to clear vegetation for military operations during the Vietnam War. According to the VA, veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during military service may face an increased risk of the following illnesses:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Diabetes mellitus type 2
- Peripheral neuropathy
- AL amyloidosis
- Ischemic heart disease
- Porphyria cutanea tarda
The following cancers have also been linked to Agent Orange exposure: chronic B-cell leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, lung cancer and other respiratory cancers, and certain soft tissue sarcomas.
Health Risks Associated with Exposure to Paraquat
The upcoming Parkinson’s symposium comes amid findings that other widely used herbicides may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease among those who handle, transport, mix or apply them, including paraquat. Paraquat is a highly toxic chemical herbicide used all over the world to control weed and grass growth, and studies have identified a greater risk of Parkinson’s disease among individuals who have been exposed to paraquat. Earlier this month, herbicide manufacturers Syngenta and Chevron were named in a product liability lawsuit filed by a former crop duster who developed Parkinson’s disease after years of spraying paraquat.
Roundup Exposure May Cause Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Roundup is another controversial weed killer that may cause serious harm to human health. In fact, the potential link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) has led thousands of former users to pursue legal claims against Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary for NHL and other illnesses allegedly caused by exposure to the glyphosate-based weed killer. The lawsuits all involve similar allegations that the makers of Roundup developed and sold a defective and dangerous herbicide without providing adequate warnings about the potential health risks associated with exposure to the herbicide.
Parkinson’s Disease in Veterans, Baby Boomers
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nervous system function and muscle movement in affected individuals. The condition typically worsens over time, which is why the VA and the Parkinson’s Foundation have partnered together to “improve the health, well-being and quality of life of veterans living with PD.” In addition to disproportionately affecting veterans, Parkinson’s disease is typically diagnosed in older individuals and there could be an influx of Parkinson’s cases in the coming years as the “Baby Boomer” generation continues to age. “We understand that most people with Parkinson’s develop symptoms at 50 years of age or older. As the population ages, so will the number of Americans living with Parkinson’s – including veterans,” said John L. Lehr, President and CEO of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “Serving those who have served our country is a priority of the Parkinson’s Foundation and we’re honored to partner with the VA to provide this online program to help veterans live better with Parkinson’s disease.”
Pursuing Compensation for Injuries from Weed Killer Exposure
If you or someone you love was exposed to a toxic weed killer like paraquat, Agent Orange or Roundup during military service or at any other time and has since been diagnosed with a serious medical condition like Parkinson’s disease, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help. We are committed to protecting the rights of consumers who have been adversely affected by defective or dangerous products and we can help put you in touch with a knowledgeable product liability lawyer who can explain your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, diminished quality of life and other damages, which you can pursue by filing a product liability lawsuit against the weed killer manufacturer. Contact us today to find out how we can help.