Exposure to Paraquat has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease. If you or a loved one has been exposed to Paraquat and has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you may qualify to participate in the Paraquat lawsuit, and Smith & Johnson will help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact personal injury attorney Tim Smith to learn more today.

What is Paraquat?

Though it was first produced over 130 years ago, its application as an herbicide was not popularized until the mid-20th century. Today, it is used as an herbicide agent on more than 100 different types of crops.

Is Paraquat Safe?

According to the American Council on Science and Health, Paraquat’s relative toxicity of glyphosate, another popularly used herbicide which is known to be toxic, ranges from 33-250. A lethal dose for an average person is around 2.5 grams, and it is even more toxic when inhaled.

Paraquat Has Been Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

In February 2011, the National Institute of Health (NIH) conducted a study— the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME)— exploring claims that exposure to the popular herbicide Paraquat could be linked to a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Following the study’s release, Syngenta, a Swiss herbicide manufacturer, claimed on its website that data from the study showed that farmers who use Paraquat are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than the general population. This claim was highly debated by the study’s authors, who attested that the data from the study showed that individuals were roughly two and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson’s after being exposed to Paraquat (or a similar herbicide—Rotenone).

FAME Study Finds Paraquat is a Parkinson’s Disease Risk

FAME drew data from the Agricultural Health Study, a larger project that tracked more than 80,000 farmers, agricultural workers, and their spouses. FAME researchers identified 115 individuals who had developed Parkinson’s, studying 110 of these individuals who were open to providing information on the herbicide they frequently used.

Syngenta held the findings in contention, arguing that because only 115 individuals developed Parkinson’s out of more than 80,000 North Carolinians and Iowans included in the Agricultural Health Study, direct correlation between Paraquat and an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s could not be proven. “The incidence of Parkinson’s disease [in the study] appears to be lower than in the general U.S. population,” explained Syngenta, trying to rationalize their website’s claim.

Dr. Caroline M. Tanner, the director of the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the lead author of the FAME study explained that Syngenta’s argument held no basis. Tanner argued that FAME was not a comprehensive assessment of the incident Parkinson’s among all 80,000 individuals. Rather, the study chose a group of people who did have Parkinson’s—studying that specific group against a control group.

In actuality, FAME relied on self-reporting from participants of the larger Agricultural Health Study. “There were probably quite a few people with Parkinson’s disease who did not enroll in our study,” explained Dr. Freya Kamel, a scientist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a branch of the National Institutes of Health and a co-author of the FAME study.

Syngenta said it “went to significant lengths to attempt to access the data” from the FAME study so that the manufacturer could “gain as complete an understanding as possible of the study in the pursuit of scientific rigor.” Kamel called Syngenta’s analysis inappropriate.

Kamel found the FAME study data linking Paraquat to Parkinson’s “about as persuasive as these things can get.”

A similar study conducted in 2012—the Genetic Modification of the Association of Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease—found that individuals who used Paraquat and who also had a specific genetic variation were 11 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s, indicating that some people are put at greater risk by being exposed to the chemical.

Paraquat Banned Across the Globe

Paraquat is banned in 32 countries. Notably, though Paraquat is produced by Swiss manufacturer Syngenta, use of the herbicide has been banned in Switzerland since 1989.

Paraquat has been on the banned substances list in England and throughout the European Union since 2013. One of Syngenta’s largest Paraquat manufacturing facilities is located in Northern England, but most of the yield is sent to the United States.

China also produces Paraquat. Although it is known for being an industrial nation with lax environmental regulations, China announced in 2012 that it would begin to phase out Paraquat to “safeguard people’s lives”. All production is now exported.

Many other nations are now following suit and venturing away from the herbicide, citing research that links the chemical to health risks.

Increased Paraquat Use in the United States

However, in recent years in the U.S., Paraquat has become a popular alternative to Monsanto’s Roundup. Roundup has long been the preferred herbicidal agent for American agricultural workers, but as weeds and pests are becoming more resistant to it and lawsuits alleging dangers and injuries arise, farmers are turning to alternative herbicides and pesticides to treat their crops.

Paraquat has become the preferred herbicidal alternative, in light of the issues surrounding Roundup, especially for soybean fields, where the number of pounds used is up fourfold over the last 10 years. In 2016 alone, the United States sprayed 7 million lbs. of Paraquat over nearly 15 million acres of land.

However, it is important to note that all Paraquat products are Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), meaning only licensed applicators are able to purchase and use the herbicide. All applicators must be “licensed in accordance with EPA regulations and state, territorial and tribal laws.”

EPA Regulatory Filing on Paraquat

In March 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a regulatory filing that they would be further exploring the possible health risks associated with Paraquat. The filing is part of a program, sponsored by the EPA, that re-evaluates all pesticides on a 15-year cycle.

In the announcement, the agency said, “There is a large body of epidemiology data on Paraquat dichloride use and Parkinson’s disease.” The EPA plans to decide whether to place Paraquat on the banned substance or continue to allow the chemical to be sprayed on US cropland, but a final decision is not expected until next year at the earliest.

All documents related to the registration review can be located in docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0855 located at www.regulations.gov.

New Research Backs FAME Findings

A December 2016 study published in Nature Chemical Biology reassures researchers who believe Paraquat to cause Parkinson’s. A CRISPR screen, an investigation into the possible agents that increase the risk of Parkinson’s for individuals exposed to Paraquat, identified a pathway required for Paraquat-induced cell death in humans. The study found that after being exposed to Paraquat, genes that may lead to Parkinson’s disease were identified using an innovative gene-editing technique. Further, the study found that Paraquat kills cells through a mechanism called oxidative stress. The study was unable to reveal the exact process that allowed the herbicide to do so, though the researchers presented multiple theories.

Paraquat Lawsuit Filed

There is currently a Paraquat lawsuit filed in St. Clair County, Illinois. The lawsuit, which was filed on Oct. 6, 2017, is filed on behalf of farmers and agricultural workers who were exposed to Paraquat and, as a result, developed Parkinson’s disease. The original defendants named in the Paraquat lawsuit were Syngenta and Growmark.

Plaintiffs in the Paraquat lawsuit claim that Syngenta and Growmark manufactured Paraquat, distributed and sold it as Gramoxone or by other names since 1964.

In an amended complaint, plaintiffs also named Chevron Chemical as a defendant, claiming that Chevron acted in concert with Syngenta and Growmark.

Plaintiffs argue that, before the recent studies linking Paraquat to Parkinson’s, they were completely unaware that the chemical posed any long-term health risks.

Can You Participate in the Paraquat Lawsuit?

If you have previously been exposed to Paraquat, or similar herbicide Rotenone, and subsequently developed Parkinson’s disease or signs of ongoing developing Parkinson’s, you may qualify to participate in the Paraquat lawsuit.

Contact personal injury attorney Tim Smith of Smith & Johnson today for a Paraquat lawsuit case consultation. Our experienced chemical exposure law team can help you assess your case and your best plan of action.

Talcum powder has been linked to forms of cancer including mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer after using talcum powder, the team at Smith & Johnson can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Talcum Powder Personal Injury Attorneys

In 1894, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) introduced what would become one of its most commonly used household products: talc-based baby powder. Made of crushed talc, a naturally occurring mineral, J&J’s baby powder was widely used as both a way to prevent diaper rash in babies and as a moisture-wicking personal hygiene solution for women. Trusting the product to keep them healthy and safe, women sprinkled talc-based powder on their underwear, genital area, or on sanitary napkins. Some did so on a daily basis for years to decades.

But as ongoing litigation against Johnson & Johnson has revealed again and again, talc powder is not a safe, risk-free product. In fact, a growing body of research and influx of personal injury lawsuits have brought light to the fact that talcum powder has been linked to multiple types of cancer.

Talcum Powder is Often Contaminated with Deadly Asbestos

 Talc naturally forms alongside asbestos, a known carcinogen. And although not every talc deposit is contaminated with asbestos, those that are pose deadly health risks for those exposed to it.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classifies talc containing asbestos is carcinogenic to humans. Asbestos is widely known to cause lung cancer and a rare stomach cancer called mesothelioma, but a growing body of reputable research has linked talc powder and its byproducts to ovarian cancer as well.

While Johnson & Johnson has been publicly claiming that its baby powder has been asbestos-free for decades, documents released in late 2018 showed that J&J managers, doctors, lawyers, and executives have known about trace amounts of asbestos in its talc powder since the early 1970s.

Talcum Powder’s Link to Ovarian Cancer

Research has also linked the use of talcum powder to ovarian cancer in women. Regular talcum powder use over the course of a lifetime nearly doubles a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. While research on talc powder without asbestos is less clear, the IARC has classified the genital use of talc powder as “possibly carcinogenic” based on human studies. This means that even without the presence of asbestos, talcum based powder could be causing ovarian cancer.

This is not new information: talcum powder use was first linked to ovarian cancer in a 1982 study published in the scientific journal Cancer. Despite this, J&J and other companies continued to insist that it was safe to use. More recent research has suggested that the buildup of talc silica particles in ovarian tissue can cause inflammation that leads to cancer.

Ovarian cancer is not easily detectable and is often discovered too late or after it has spread elsewhere in the body. This makes it one of the deadliest and most aggressive forms of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society:

  • Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women.
  • Ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer involving the female reproductive system.
  • Even with advances in ovarian cancer treatment, the prognosis for ovarian cancer is poor, with an overall 5-year relative survival rate of less than 50%.

Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Today, Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 20,000 talc baby powder lawsuits, some of which point to asbestos contamination and others claiming the talc itself caused a plaintiff’s cancer diagnosis. The number of cases continues to rise as more victims come forward.

Some plaintiffs have seen enormous verdicts in response to their lawsuits:

  • In 2013, a jury found that J&J should have warned women of the risk of developing ovarian cancer when using talcum powder near the genitals, awarding a plaintiff $55 million.
  • In 2016, a woman’s family was awarded $72 million after a jury determined her daily use of talc powder caused the ovarian cancer that led to her death.
  • In 2018, J&J was ordered to pay $4.69 billion in punitive damages to 22 women who developed ovarian cancer after using its talc products.

While Johnson & Johnson announced in May 2020 its plans to stop selling talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada, thousands of women are still being forced to suffer with the aftermath of the company’s decades of inaction.

Were You or a Loved One Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer After Talcum Powder Exposure?

If you or a loved one developed ovarian cancer after regularly using talc powder, contact the experienced defective drug and toxic chemical exposure attorneys at Smith & Johnson to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to receive compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages associated with your cancer diagnosis. Contact attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 or through our online contact form to discuss your legal options.

Thanks to Traverse City Business News for the feature in their April publication.

The VRBO case featured regarding the short-term rental agreement was uniquely impacted by the pandemic due to the fact that when it was time to put the defendants on notice of our claims, it was early 2020. Courts were shut down, and we were unsure how long it would take to progress to a jury if we placed it in suit. Rather than file and hope we weren’t stuck in litigation for years, we spent more time than usual up-front, trying to resolve it with the carriers. Persistence and thoroughly documenting every aspect of the case allowed us to secure the policy limits of $2,000,000.00 for our client. This is believed to be one of the largest Premise Liability recoveries in the history of Antrim County.

If you’re looking for an experienced personal injury lawyer in the Traverse City area, call our office today at 231-946-0700.

In the fall of 2020, attorney Tim Smith, of Smith & Johnson Attorneys, filed two of the first lawsuits in Michigan against the manufacturer of the ParaGard IUD in Michigan Federal Court.

Woman Suffering from IUD PainThe ParaGard IUD is a birth control device that doctors implant into women during an office visit. Because this highly effective IUD can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years and is reversible upon removal, it is a very compelling birth control alternative for many women.

Unfortunately, the ParaGard IUD also has a propensity to break at its arms upon removal (also known as explant), sometimes resulting in serious injuries. Its tendency to break may require the IUD to be surgically removed, and—in some cases—the patient may even need a hysterectomy, leaving them unable to bear children.

Numerous suits against Teva Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of this product, have been filed across the country. On December 16, 2020, the Federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has ordered that all federally-filed cases against Teva/ParaGard be transferred to the federal court in the Northern District of Georgia to the court of Judge Leigh Martin May. At the time of the transfer order, there were fewer than 100 cases filed nationwide.

Smith & Johnson Attorneys is proud to represent two of the Michigan claimants in this important litigation. If you or someone you know has been injured by a ParaGard IUD, please contact S&J at (231) 946-0700 to discuss your legal options.

Smith & Johnson was proud to assist Dann’s House here in Traverse City in the purchase of a duplex that can service 7 residents. Dann’s House is a nonprofit that provides supportive housing for people who have experienced chronic homelessness and also suffer from persistent, severe Alcohol Use Disorder. Dann’s House doesn’t just provide a roof over people’s heads — it helps them apply for benefits and provides support for overcoming alcohol addictions. Ken Petterson, a partner at Smith & Johnson, provided the pro bono legal services to assist in the purchase and closing on the property in question. Smith & Johnson is proud of the time our attorneys donate to this community through pro bono services and participating as Directors on various nonprofit boards.

There is an increasing consensus among experts that e-cigarettes, contrary to their marketing tactics, are not safer than traditional tobacco products. A long-term study reported in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine on December 16th shows an increased risk of developing chronic lung disease amongst vape users. For years, companies like JUUL have marketed their e-cigarette as safer, but Robert Tarran, a professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine is on record stating, “everything I’ve seen on data in the lungs suggests e-cigarettes are not safer”.

This study from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine is the first study on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes; its findings provide a clear link between e-cigarette use and chronic lung disease. The study involved 32,000 adults in the United States. None of them had any sign of lung disease when the study began in 2013, but by 2016, investigators found that people who used e-cigarettes were 30% more likely to have developed a chronic lung disease, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

Other scientists in the field have applauded the work in this recent long term study re: vaping. “I think it’s a critically important paper,” says Harvard University professor of public health Joseph Allen. “We don’t have any information as of now on the potential long-term impacts of e-cigarettes on respiratory health.” Allen says the results represent a first grim step toward producing that information — and they provide a sad confirmation of what researchers already suspected: that e-cigarette use has a dramatic long-term effect on lung health.

“The reality is, millions of e-cigarette users are unwitting participants in an experiment,” Allen says, “and we don’t yet know the results.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, as of December 10, 2019, there have been 2,409 documented cases of EVALI [e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury] and 52 deaths, which have been confirmed in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Add to this over 120 reports of vaping induced seizures and the evidence begins to mount as it relates to the health risks associated with vaping. The evidence flies in the face of the marketing campaigns of JUUL who have consistently touted e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes.

The newly formed Multidistrict Litigation involving JUUL will be procedurally similar to the MDLs formed in the Municipal Opioid Litigation and the Roundup Cancer litigation that Smith & Johnson is currently involved in. Smith & Johnson is currently interviewing potential Michigan claimants for inclusion in this Federal MDL re: JUUL e-cigarettes. If you have questions about this litigation and what rights you may have, please contact Attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 for a free consultation.

There are two very concerning trends in vaping — rising use among teens and rising injury and death according to the Center for Disease Control [CDC]. These two vaping related data points are pointing toward the front end of what may become an epidemic. As of December 10, 2019, the CDC has documented a total of 2,409 hospitalizations related to vaping and confirmed 52 vaping-related deaths.

student vaping graph

At the same time, the National Youth Tobacco survey reports that since 2016, the percentage of U.S. high school students using e-cigarettes has more than doubled from 11.3% to 27.5%.

This massive increase in use by teens tracks the rise in popularity of JUUL brand of e-cigarettes. JUUL started with very little market share in 2016, but they ramped up their marketing campaigns to target teens. By the end of 2018, they had grabbed over 42% of the e-cigarette market share.

JUUL growthThe increase in vaping use amongst teens is leading to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths. The question is: “what is the underlying cause”? According to Science News, federal health officials have identified a possible culprit: vitamin E acetate, which is added to vaping products as a thickening agent.

What is becoming very clear is that we are seeing a drastic increase of the number of young and otherwise healthy individuals being hospitalized across the country due to vaping.

“While of course, these lung injuries related to vaping are very serious, it really is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Susan Walley, a pediatrician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. “The millions of kids who are using e-cigarettes now… what’s going to happen to all those kids in 10 years?”

It is too early to tell what will happen to all these kids in 10 years, but the early data is clearly pointing to the beginning of an epidemic of serious health consequences related to the increasing use of these dangerous products.

These two data points regarding increasing use combined with increasing injury and death amongst JUUL users is a stark contrast against the marketing campaigns of JUUL, who have touted e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes.

The newly formed Multidistrict Litigation against JUUL will be procedurally similar to the MDLs formed in the Municipal Opioid Litigation and the Roundup Cancer litigation that Smith & Johnson is currently involved in. Smith & Johnson is currently interviewing potential Michigan claimants for inclusion in this litigation re: JUUL e-cigarettes. If you have questions about this litigation and what rights you may have, please contact Attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 for a free consultation.

Smith & Johnson is saddened to announce the passing of partner Allen Anderson.

Allen was known for both his keen legal intellect and his immeasurable kindness. He was a lover of both dogs and horses, and cherished by all of his friends both here in the States and abroad. He was fond of three piece suits and capped toe cowboy boots – a fashion statement rarely seen north of the Mason-Dixon Line. He enjoyed snow plowing his neighborhood drive in his 3/4 ton crew cab as much as he enjoyed reading and drafting articulate legal briefs for his clients. His days at the firm were spent solving legal problems for his clients and drinking the sublime coffee brewed across the street from the office at Frenchies Famous, which were often delivered by Frenchy himself.

We couldn’t have asked for a better partner or friend than Allen. Please read his obituary and share in remembrance. He was one of a kind and is already missed more than we can begin to describe.

On September 18th, the Food and Drug Administration reprimanded JUUL for their false marketing around e-cigarettes being a safer alternative to cigarettes. The FDA ordered JUUL to “stop making unproven claims for its products” and “upped its scrutiny of a number of key aspects of Juul’s business, telling the company to turn over documents on its marketing, educational programs and nicotine formula” – NBC News

As reported by Smith & Johnson Attorney Tim Smith in the Legal Examiner:

Researches from Penn State University College of Medicine found that JUUL users’ blood nicotine concentrations were “almost three times as high as most of the e-cigarette users we previously studied,” said study first author Jessica Yingst, a research project manager. The study found that JUUL users “had higher levels of nicotine dependence than more than 3,000 long-term users of other e-cigarettes, according to the study.”

Study co-author Jonathan Foulds, a professor of public health sciences, noted: “In previous studies, we found that e-cigarette users were less addicted than smokers. However, the high nicotine delivery of the product and the scores on this study suggest that Juul is probably as addictive as cigarettes.”

These findings are particularly problematic given JUUL’s targeted marketing to youth.

The September 18th FDA warning letter discusses JUUL’s problematic history of marketing to youth and “highlights an incident recounted by two New York high school students during a congressional hearing in July. The students said a representative of Juul was invited to address the school as part of an assembly on mental health and addiction issues. During the presentation, the students said the representative told them the company’s product was “totally safe.” The representative also showed students a Juul device and claimed the FDA “was about to come out and it was 99 percent safer than cigarettes.”” – NBC News

This reprimand from the FDA comes right on the heels of the first double lung transplant surgery on a 17 year old male here in Michigan. The doctor who performed the surgery stated that vaping was what destroyed the young man’s lungs and necessitated the transplant.

JUUL is now facing a series of lawsuits across the country as a direct result of their deceptive marketing and the dangerous side effects of their products which they intentionally hid from consumers.

The newly formed Multidistrict Litigation involving JUUL will be procedurally similar to the MDLs formed in the Municipal Opioid Litigation and the Roundup Cancer litigation that Smith & Johnson is currently involved in. Smith & Johnson is currently interviewing potential Michigan claimants for inclusion in this Federal MDL re: JUUL e-cigarettes. If you have questions about this litigation and what rights you may have, please contact Attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 for a free consultation.

From Smith & Johnsons Attorney Tim Smith in Legal Examiner:

In April, the FDA announced that it was investigating 32 reports of people suffering seizures after vaping. Since then, 92 more reports were made to that agency. Seizures were reported by first time users and experienced e-cigarette users. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that he expected more reports of seizures following the initial report, “but 92 additional reports over that short period of time is concerning”.

“What stands out in the FDA’s list of neurological cases is the relative youth of the subjects, the lack of any prior seizure history, and their exposure to much higher levels of nicotine than with products like cigarettes or chewing tobacco. Last April, the agency said that it had received reports of seizures occurring in first-time e-cigarette users as well as in those with more experience, and some have occurred “after a few puffs or up to one day after use.”

But what is the connection been vaping and seizures?

“In a February 18 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives—a peer-reviewed open-access journal published monthly with support from the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences—researchers at Johns Hopkins University analyzed concentrations in e-cigarette liquid and aerosol samples in an effort to investigate whether metals from e-cigarette heating coils were present in reservoir tanks or the aerosol generated by the coils. They found lead, chromium, nickel, manganese, and arsenic in 56 samples of e-cigarettes from daily users, and while minimal amounts were detected in refilling dispenser fluids, much larger levels were in liquids exposed to the devices’ coils.” “It is well established that lead, arsenic, and manganese are neurotoxicants that can cause a range of problems, from headaches, drowsiness, and confusion, to seizures, as well as other life-threatening complications, depending on the dose and the person’s susceptibility,” said Ana María Rule, PhD, an assistant professor and director of the Exposure Assessment Lab at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, who was part of the Johns Hopkins research team.”

“We found lead in 94 percent and manganese in 64 percent of aerosol samples; and half of the samples exceeded the [federal] ambient air quality standard for lead,” she told Neurology Today.

According to the Center for Disease Control, as of November 5, 2019, there have been 2,051 documented cases of EVALI [e-cigarette or vaping, product use associated lung injury] and 39 deaths which have been confirmed in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Add to this over 120 reports of vaping induced seizures and the evidence begins to mount as to the health risks associated with vaping. The evidence flies in the face of the marketing campaigns of JUUL who have touted e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes.

The newly formed Multidistrict Litigation involving JUUL will be procedurally similar to the MDLs formed in the Municipal Opioid Litigation and the Roundup Cancer litigation that Smith & Johnson is currently involved in. Smith & Johnson is currently interviewing potential Michigan claimants for inclusion in this Federal MDL re: JUUL e-cigarettes. If you have questions about this litigation and what rights you may have, please contact Attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 for a free consultation.

Authored by Attorney Tim Smith