The next Roundup? Paraquat emerges as new mass tort agricultural target

Jun 9, 2021

The next Roundup? Paraquat emerges as new mass tort agricultural target

Following a tsunami of mass tort advertising targeting Bayer and Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup (glyphosate) in recent years, advertisers launched an aggressive campaign seeking claims related to injuries, particularly Parkinson’s Disease, allegedly caused by the commercial herbicide paraquat, often sold under the brand name Gramoxone.

From February through April, over 12,000 paraquat lawsuit ads aired nationally and in over 130 media markets across the country at an estimated cost of over $970,000. An ad soliciting a paraquat lawsuit aired, on average, every 10 minutes somewhere across the United States during this three month period.

Paraquat Litigation TV Advertising

Number of Ads, Jan-Apr 2021

Paraquat monthly No of Ads - Jan-Apr 2021 - 6.10.21

This was the first time paraquat ads have aired in nearly two years. In fact more than twice as much was spent on this advertising in April — over $725,000 — than in the entire time since these TV ads were first captured in 2017.

It is estimated that more than nine times as much was spent on paraquat lawsuit advertising in April than was spent in March — the steepest increase of any mass tort ad target monitored.

Paraquat Litigation TV Advertising

Est. Ad Spending, Jan-Apr 2021

Paraquat monthly est spend - Jan-Apr 2021 - 6.10.21

Roundup has been the most targeted product across all mass tort TV advertising since 2015 with $127 million spent on 600,000 ads.  It remains a top 5 mass tort ad target with 13,000 Roundup litigation ads from January through March of this year.

The top ad in February and March seeking paraquat claims was sponsored by the Andrus Wagstaff law firm under the “Paraquat Legal Helpline” brand. This aired over 2,300 times. It can be viewed below:

In addition to heightened TV ad activity, we have also monitored a number of ads and posts on social media and elsewhere online soliciting claims as seen in the samples below:

Sample Paraquat Litigation Facebook, Google Ads, & Webpages, 2021

Pasted File at May 6, 2021 11_10 PM

Paraquat is one of the most widely used industrial herbicides in the world. It is manufactured and sold under a number of different brand or product trade names with Gramoxone the most common. Gramoxone is manufactured by Syngenta, a global agrochemical company.

Scientific studies in recent years suggest a possible link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.

A number of lawsuits have already been filed and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is considering consolidating the claims.

The first lawsuit alleging a paraquat-Parkinson’s disease link was filed in Missouri in 2017 against Syngenta. The Court later required plaintiffs to amend their complaint to include Chevron Chemical as an additional defendant in the case.

Several other similar paraquat weedkiller lawsuits have also been filed against Syngenta, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, Growmark Inc., and other manufacturers in a number of other states including California, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

A paraquat trial over the alleged risk of Parkinson’s disease supposedly associated with exposure to the herbicide paraquat began in June in Illinois state court with Syngenta, Chevron Phillips and Growmark named as defendants..