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Investigation explores link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease

The past few decades have abounded with stories of big companies releasing products that caused harm – some through addiction and others through debilitating physical conditions. What makes many of these cases worse is learning that a company knew it was causing harm, but took no action to stop it. It can involve everything from the effects of pollution to the opioid epidemic. And the latest example could come from the world of pesticides.

A new survey of The Guardian and The new Lede explores the long-term effects of a weed killer called paraquat, made by the Syngenta company. At issue here? A significant number of farmers who used paraquat developed Parkinson’s disease. As Carey Gillam and Aliya Uteuova wrote in an article, “[s]o Many people have recently filed lawsuits alleging that paraquat caused them to develop Parkinson’s disease that the cases have been consolidated to be overseen by an Illinois federal judge and an Illinois court judge State of California.

Worse still, as Gilliam and Uteouva write, “corporate insiders” knew they could be held responsible for this connection from 1975.

As The Guardian noted in another article in the same series, this has led to thousands of lawsuits. The documents revealed in this investigation add another level to this case – and offer a disturbing look at decades of corporate politics.