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Chemical Company Chooses Profits Over People, Makes Weedkiller Cheaper, Not Safer by Carey Gillam

Internal documents show Syngenta scientists knew they could save lives by making tweaks to paraquat weedkiller, but chose to save money instead. Documents also expose the company’s efforts to cover up evidence that paraquat causes Parkinson’s Disease. Around the world, the deadly dangers of a weedkiller called paraquat are well known. When working with the highly toxic herbicide, farmers and other users take care not to splash or spill even small amounts of the product, heeding regulatory warnings that just a tiny amount – if swallowed – will kill them. “If you ingest just three drops of paraquat you’re going to die,” said U.S. farmer Cameron Peirce who uses the chemical sparingly in his fields of canola and mung beans in Kansas. Switzerland, the home base of the paraquat maker Syngenta, has banned the chemical since 1989, and it has been banned for use in the EU since 2007, because of paraquat’s deadliness.

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