Deadly Paraquat: Safety Measures Were Falsified To Keep the Herbicide on the Market

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Syngenta, an agrochemical manufacturer that sells pesticides worldwide, is now in the center of a legal firestorm. This comes after leaked documents, and the testimony of a company insider, revealed deadly secrets the company has long struggled to keep hidden. 

Greenpeace released a devastating takedown of Syngenta in their report titled “The Paraquat Papers”, which was published on March 24th 2021. Paraquat, sold under the brand name Gramoxone, is a Syngenta pesticide that has long been banned in numerous countries after claiming tens of thousands of lives, but is still used widely in the United States as a pesticide. The Paraquat Papers alleges that Syngenta knowingly used manipulated data to prove to US regulators that paraquat is safe for use. 

 

What Is Paraquat and Why Is It So Deadly?

Paraquat has been sold in the United States since 1964, and is used to kill weeds and grasses before planting. Paraquat is so toxic that consuming only a single tablespoon is enough to be fatal. Unfortunately, it has been consumed accidentally, and intentionally, thousands of times since its introduction in the 1960s.

Paraquat is now banned in more than 50 countries around the globe due to its deadly nature. Yet this dangerous chemical remains available for sale in the United States to this day. This is in large part because Syngenta convinced regulators they had come up with a way to make paraquat safe.

Why Is Paraquat Still Sold in the United States?

Syngenta added an emetic to paraquat in the 1970s. This is a chemical that will induce vomiting if swallowed. By adding the emetic, Syngenta stated that individuals who accidentally or purposefully drank paraquat would immediately vomit up the toxin, saving lives. The emetic added to paraquat was codenamed PP796.

The only problem? Newly uncovered documents reveal that PP796 never worked. What’s worse, is that Syngenta knew this, and still continued to tout their products’ safety. In fact, Syngenta had its concentration of PP796 declared the global standard for all paraquat-based weed killers via the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – a standard that is still in place today. 

 

Fabricated Data

John Heylings worked for Syngenta for 22 years, and has been trying to warn consumers and the company about the ineffectiveness of PP796 for years now. Heyling states that paraquat contains far too little PP796 for it to properly work as an emetic before the victim is killed by the pesticide, even for those who swallow the minimum lethal dose. 

Heylings also alleges that the concentrations that Syngenta uses are based on a report that was fabricated back in 1976, using data that was manipulated. The fabricated data claimed humans were 10 times more sensitive to PP796 than animal test subjects, instead of using the actual doses given to the animal test subjects as a reliable indicator. 

Paraquat and Parkinson’s

Heyling brought this information to Syngenta in 1990, but the company ignored him. In 2018, he again urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to change its standards in regards to paraquat – yet nothing was done. This has given rise to several lawsuits in the United States, all involving paraquat.

Several farmers have claimed they developed Parkinson’s disease after using paraquat on their farms. Studies have shown that farmers who use paraquat may be up to 11 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s after routine exposure to the pesticide. The disease can cause a loss of motor functions, imbalance, and shaking. Syngenta has repeatedly withheld warnings about the link between its product and Parkinsons, which has resulted in multiple lawsuits being filed. 

 

Paraquat Lawsuits

For too long, Syngenta has been allowed to market a deadly product in the United States, putting farmers and their families at risk. With growing public awareness of the lengths that Syngenta has gone to to keep this product on the market, the team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is tracking this evolving story closely. As Philadelphia’s Top Toxic Chemical Exposure Lawyers, If you or someone you love was impacted by the use of paraquat, we want to hear from you. Call us today at 1-866-333-7715 for a free consultation, or fill out our form

 

Bristol Township – Two Injured by Space Heater

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Two Bristol Township residents suffered significant burns and were airlifted to Temple Hospital after an electric space heater started a fire that caused significant damage to their home. Fire department officials arrived around 4:00 a.m. and stated that no smoke alarms were sounding when they arrived. Thankfully, several neighbors had woken the couple up by banging on their doors and windows, allowing them to escape the blaze. 

Bristol Township Fire Marshal Kevin Dippolito stated that it was not clear whether the electric space heater was too close to something flammable, or if a defect/malfunction was responsible for the fire. Whatever the cause was, the fact remains that space heaters continue to pose fire hazards in homes across the United States, and these malfunctions leading to destructive and sometimes deadly fires are sadly all too common. The attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can help you determine if your devastating space heater fire was caused by a faulty product, and if so, who should be held liable for damages.

Why Are Space Heaters Dangerous?

Over half of all home heating fire deaths start because the heating equipment is placed too close to something flammable, such as bedding or furniture. Other factors that can lead to fires are failing to clean the heater, or heaters that are left unattended. But between 15 to 30 percent of space heater fires are caused by mechanical or electrical malfunctions.

The safest heaters are ones that have fire-preventative features such as automatic shut-offs and long cords, and these models are usually certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). But a UL certification is not legally required, and there is no current legal requirement that space heater manufacturers install critical safety features on all of their models. 

 

How Many Fires Are Started by Space Heaters?

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) states that heating equipment, such as space heaters, is the number one cause of fires in homes. Between 2012-2016, there were an average of 52,050 fires every year caused by heating equipment in the United States, resulting in 490 deaths and one billion dollars in property damage. Of these, approximately 1,200 fires were caused by portable electric space heaters specifically.

The winter months of December, January and February are the most dangerous months for home heating fires in the United States, and they usually occur sometime between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Early morning fires, like the one in Bristol township, are the most uncommon but are also the most deadly time for a space heater fire to occur. In fact, nearly half of all fatalities due to fires caused by heating equipment occur between midnight and 8:00 a.m.

Who Is Liable for a Fire Caused by a Space Heater? 

Understanding who is liable for a fire caused by a space heater is a complicated question that will ultimately rely on the specific circumstances of your case. Liable parties may include:

  • The manufacturer of the space heater
  • The manufacturer of defective parts in your space heater
  • The retailer who sold you your space heater

All space heaters should be placed a minimum of three feet away from anything that can burn according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and must be turned off when unattended. Consumers are also advised to always plug a space heater directly into a wall socket, and never to use a power strip or extension cord to plug in a space heater. But even when all these precautions are in place, catastrophic fires can still happen when using a space heater.

If you or your loved ones have experienced a fire caused by an electric space heater, you deserve answers and compensation for your losses. If the manufacturer or retailer is liable, you may have recourse to file a wrongful death or product liability lawsuit against them. The skilled attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can answer your questions with a free consultation, and help you begin your recovery process. Fill out our online form here, or call us at 1-866-869-5318 to speak with someone today. 

Fiat Chrysler SUVs and Minivans Recalled Due to Projectile Hazard During Airbag Deployment

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Another year has brought another massive vehicle recall due to defective airbags. On July 13, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the recall of 1.2 million Fiat Chrysler minivans and SUVs due to a defect which has already resulted in at least 14 reports of injury. The airbag covers of the recalled 2007–11 Dodge Nitro SUVs and 2008–10 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans are secured by defective clips, many of which have loosened over time to turn themselves and the plastic emblems they hold into projectiles.

This recall comes on the heels of the 6-years-and-counting saga of Takata’s airbag recall, involving 56 million vehicles made by 19 different automakers in what the NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” As many as 15.9 million defective Takata airbags still remain on the road, resulting in occasional tragedies like the story of 17-year-old Huma Hanif, whose neck was cut by a piece of metal ejected from a faulty airbag inflator, causing her to bleed to death. Her family claims that they were never contacted about the recall.

How Defective Product Law Protects Drivers

Federal laws cover manufacturing defects, design defects and communication about known product dangers, ensuring consumers of a basic right to the implied safety of a purchased product. When you buy a product and use it in the proper way, these laws are there to protect you from unexpected harm. 

On the other side of the equation, consumer safety laws aim to keep everyone in the manufacturing and supply chain honest, applying equally to manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Companies have an obligation to design and manufacture safe products — and when they fail to do so, you have a right to seek action. 

Vehicle Makers Are Held to an Especially High Standard

Product law requires automobile manufacturers to go to great lengths to ensure that every car they produce performs well under typical driving conditions, and mitigates injury in the event of a crash. There is even the added burden of crashworthiness, which requires a car’s designers and manufacturers to look ahead to the human consequences of all types of driver outcomes. This is one of the reasons that auto makers use devices like crash test dummies in simulating crashes.

Since airbags were first required in new passenger vehicles at the start of the 1999 model year, they have been a big part of that safety. Front airbags have been shown to reduce driver fatalities in frontal crashes by 29 percent and front-seat passenger deaths (provided they are 13 or older) by 32 percent. Side airbags reduce a car driver’s risk of death in driver-side crashes by 37 percent and an SUV driver’s risk by 52 percent.

The heightened safety that airbags deliver has become an expectation — which makes it all the more tragic when airbag defects end up causing injury instead of preventing it.

What Types of Injuries Can Defective Airbags Inflict?

While the Fiat Chrysler airbag issue is still unfolding, more is known about the ramifications of Takata’s airbag issue, which has so far claimed the lives of 24 people worldwide while injuring hundreds.

Airbags come out of their housing at speeds up to 200 miles per hour, and must be held to a high design and manufacturing standard. When they fail, injuries can include:

  • Broken bones, skull fractures and brain injury
  • Chemical burns from the gas propellant used for inflation
  • Deep cuts and hemorrhaging from projectiles and shrapnel
  • Blindness caused by exploding airbags

Source: Wikipedia, shared under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

When to Consult with an Experienced Product Liability Lawyer

At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we have over 30 years of experience in litigating product liability cases. We take all claims on a contingency basis, and will only charge you attorney fees if we are able to obtain financial compensation for your losses. Our experience comes in handy when connecting cases with the right expert witnesses, which can be invaluable in demonstrating the validity of a claim.

McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt welcomes clients local to our Philadelphia offices and those from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and further afield. To schedule a meeting for a free consultation, fill out our form or call us directly at 1-866-694-5578.

Five Killed and 60 Hospitalized After Tragic Pennsylvania Turnpike Crash

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A tragic accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Sunday morning left five dead and over 60 injured when a passenger bus with Z&D Tour Inc. lost control around a turn and set off a chain-reaction which involved three tractor-trailers and a passenger vehicle.

Police say that the bus was not able to get around a particularly tight turn, went up an embankment and flipped between the exits for New Stanton and Breezewood.  This set off a chain reaction which led to the horrific amount of injuries sustained, in what the spokesman for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Carl DeFebo called “the worst accident in his decades-long tenure with the turnpike.”. 

UPS confirmed that two of their drivers were killed in the accident:

Sadly, UPS confirms the identities of two of our drivers who are victims of this tragic incident. Daniel Kepner, age 53, had 5 years of service, and, Dennis Kehler, age 48, had 28 years of service. Both were driving together in a tractor-trailer vehicle out of our Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, operating center. Our drivers will be missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families. This is all of the information available at this time,”

FedEx and Z&D Tour Inc. have so far declined to comment beyond that they are cooperating with authorities.

Trucking Accidents in Pennsylvania Cause Serious Injuries

There are thousands of fatal accidents each year caused by trucks and tractor-trailers, and sadly Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of trucking accidents in the US. Victims overloaded local hospitals and staff, having prepared for mass casualty plans, were able to handle the influx of victims, and provide the necessary treatment for their injuries.

Multiple patients had to be treated at Allegheny Health Network’s Forbes Hospital for neurosurgical issues, abdominal injuries, brain bleeds, contusions, and fractures from this Sunday’s accident, and staff from Forbes reported that their training for such an event had paid off.

Trucking accidents can cause serious injuries compared to standard vehicles, and almost 98% of the time a collision occurs between a large truck and a passenger vehicle the passenger sustains catastrophic injuries.

What or Who Exactly Caused The Tractor-Trailer Crash on The PA Turnpike?

While the bus from Z&D Tour Inc. has been identified as the first car in the crash, authorities have yet to determine what exactly caused the pile-up, and they say it can take weeks or months to determine.  While the weather can certainly be a factor, it’s still too early too determine whether it is a factor.

The bus that initially flipped was heading from Chinatown in New York City to Cincinnati.  

Finding The Right Attorney If You Or A Loved One Has Been In A Tractor Trailer Accident

With the severity of injuries that trucking accidents cause to passenger vehicles, it’s important that you make sure your medical costs immediately after the accident, and following the accident are covered.  

At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we understand the complexities that are associated with these catastrophic accidents, and we provide comprehensive counsel to those who have suffered injuries due to trucking or multi-vehicle accidents.  Our team can take care of all types of serious and catastrophic injury claims, including brain or spinal cord injury, broken bones, burns, paralysis, and amputation or loss of limb and remove the stress from your family to help you focus on recovering from your injuries.

 McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt has won over $200,000,000 for our clients in various personal injury cases, and our team has worked directly with dozens of trucking cases involving commercial vehicles.

We take a vested interest in your case and you won’t pay a dime unless we win.  In many cases, we can advance the expenses necessary to help you find treatment and work with medical experts in order to properly diagnose your injuries, and how they’ll impact your life going forward.

Don’t hesitate to contact our team or call us directly at 1-800-590-4116 to speak directly to our team.

 

5G Cancer Risks: Asbestos of a New Generation?

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5G Cancer Risks: Asbestos of a New Generation?

The next generation of cell phone technology could pose serious cancer risks to the public

You have probably already heard about 5G and the plans to roll out the new technology over the next two years. 5G is the new fifth-generation wireless broadband technology that promises big improvements in bandwidth (projected speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than current 4G networks), decreased latency (delay) times, energy efficiency, and greater network capacity. While the benefits of 5G have been widely touted by the telecom industry, there are potential downsides that have received scant media attention. The new 5G standard will require a massive investment to build new infrastructure to support the technology. More importantly, numerous studies suggest that 5G could expose the public to increased risks of cancer and other maladies.

2.7 Million GM Trucks and SUVs Could Have Defective Brakes

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GM Trucks and SUVs Could Have Defective Brakes

The U.S. government is investigating General Motors (GM) big pickup trucks and SUVs due to faulty braking systems. Roughly 2.7 million vehicles sold in the U.S. may be affected by the issue, so if you own a GM truck or SUV, here is what you need to know.

Injuries from Falls Affect People of All Ages, Not Just Elderly

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injury

Every year millions of Americans suffer from a preventable fall injury, and over 800,000 of those will end up in the emergency room with a fracture or head injury. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, falls are the most common cause of nonfatal unintentional injuries and are responsible for slightly more than three in 10 injuries overall. Deaths because of a fall have also skyrocketed since 2000, from 13,322 to 34,673. Half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall.

Know the Signs of Elder Abuse

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nursing home malpractice lawyers Philadelphia

National data on cases of abuse in America’s 15,600-plus nursing homes and other elder-care programs is hard to come by. But several recent studies by government investigators, advocacy groups and the news media have chilling implications.

Filing a Suit Against a PA Government Agency Over a Car Crash Just Got Easier

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SEPTA accident lawyer

Over the past five years in Pennsylvania, if a vehicle owned and operated by a municipal entity in the Commonwealth (such as SEPTA or the local water authority) was involved in a collision while the vehicle wasn’t in motion, the Commonwealth or entity was not liable for paying any damages.

This means if a car owned by a municipal entity was parked illegally on the road or positioned vulnerably in the roadway, and you hit it, you would not be able to bring a suit against that person or authority even if the primary reason for the crash was the way the vehicle was parked.

5 Steps to Take if Your Child was in a School Bus Accident

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5 Steps to Take if Your Child was in a School Bus Accident

As parents, we like to think sending our children to school on the bus is safe. In reality, school bus accidents occur every year, often resulting in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. In these moments it is difficult to think about involving a lawyer, however the sooner you engage a qualified lawyer, the sooner your child and family’s legal interests are protected and you can focus solely on your child and families well-being.

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