The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is responsible for identifying dangerous hazardous wastes in our country. The sites they identify make up the National Priorities List (NPL) and have been targeted for long-term cleanup activities. In at least sixteen of these sites, methyl parathion was found, but not all sites have been evaluated for this substance. It is essential to know where these sites are, as this substance can harm you, and these sites could be a source of exposure.

When industrial plants release a substance from a large area in a drum, container, or bottle, it enters our environment. Exposure does not always result from this release. Exposure occurs when you come into contact with the substance. This exposure can occur by eating, breathing, drinking, or experiencing skin contact. If you become exposed to methyl parathion, several factors will determine if it will harm you. The factors include:

  • How much, or the dose of the substance you came into contact with
  • How long your exposure lasted
  • How you came into contact with the substance
  • Your age
  • Your sex
  • Your diet
  • Family traits you have
  • Your lifestyle
  • And your current state of health

What is Methyl Parathion?

Methyl Parathion is used on crops as a pesticide to kill insects. The general method of application is to spray it on the crop, but it does come in two forms. One form is a white crystal, and the other a technical-grade, brownish liquid solution. This form smells much like a rotten egg, or some say garlic.

This manufactured chemical is found in the environment only because it is manufactured; it is not a natural product. Methyl parathion has been produced in the United States since 1952. Its use is to kill or control insects on a variety of crops.

Methyl parathion is dangerous to humans, and the EPA has put restrictions on how it can be used as well as its method of applications. It must be sprayed onto the crops from the ground or from the air in specific ways, so there is minimal danger of humans being exposed. It can only be applied by persons who have been specially trained to spray methyl parathion.

Methyl parathion is not being applied to crops used as food sources that are typically eaten by children. There are now regulations that stipulate how much methyl parathion can be present as a residue on crops to be considered with safe limits. This regulation controls the accidental exposure of methyl parathion.

How Can Exposure to Methyl Parathion Occur?

Exposure to methyl parathion occurs most often when a person works with the chemical. Exposure seldom happens from breathing it through the air or by touching an object, unless you live near areas being sprayed. Those at the most significant risk of exposure are the ones who work with the chemical, such as farm workers, people who work in the factory where it is produced, and chemical sprayers.

People become exposed to methyl parathion on things they touch where it has passed through the air, or by breathing it after it has been sprayed. If overexposed to methyl parathion, it can cause severe poisoning or death. If a person goes into a recently sprayed field too soon after the spraying, they are at risk of exposure. To protect against this exposure, a person should wear protective clothing as well as breathing equipment, or stay out of the field for at least two weeks after it has been sprayed.

People who live near landfills where methyl parathion has been dumped are also at risk of exposure or those living near water, which contains a chemical that has washed off nearby land where it has been accidentally spilled. The highest amounts of methyl parathion can be found on or near farms where it has been used.

After a field has been sprayed with methyl parathion, some of the chemicals can be transported by fog or the wind away from where it has been used. When moved this way, the levels are not considered to be dangerous. Recent studies taken from nearby areas where methyl parathion was sprayed found the chemical was not present in the groundwater. This study finds that the risk of methyl parathion exposure from drinking groundwater is low. The EPA is assessing this study to determine its validity.

The chemical, methyl parathion, has been approved for use on crops only. The maximum amount of residue left from this chemical on crops that are used as food sources are 1/21 ppm. This amount has been determined safe by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the EPA. The FDA has monitored the use of pesticides on food crops for years. This agency purchases foods through Market Basket Survey to analyze them for residue found on them from insecticides used to control pests. Scientists working with the FDA estimate the daily intake of pesticides from these samples. The FDA monitoring studies conclude that the United States food supply contains very little amounts of pesticides, and the issue is not a concern. There are, however, reports that methyl parathion is used illegally inside of homes.

How Methyl Parathion Affects Your Health

When poisoned by methyl parathion, it will interfere with your nerves and brain function. If your exposure is in high levels for a short period of time from the air or a water source, you could experience:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Tremors
  • Cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Wheezing
  • Death

Some people who have had exposure to chemicals similar to methyl parathion have reported changes in their mental state, which was said to last months after their exposure ended. If the exposure to methyl parathion is lower than what causes nerve function, then no other symptoms seem to appear either. At this point, there is no record of methyl parathion being responsible for congenital disabilities in humans or affected their ability to have children. There is also no proof pointing to methyl parathion, causing cancer in people who are regularly exposed to chemicals such as pesticide applicators or farmers.

Scientists have tests they can conduct which are designed to protect the public from harmful effects of toxic chemicals. They also perform tests to learn how to treat those who have been harmed. One of the tests they perform is to find out if a chemical will hurt people and to learn how a chemical will be absorbed and used by the body. Testing of animals is often necessary to learn these answers.

Animal testing is sometimes used to identify health effects, such as whether or not the chemical will cause congenital disabilities or cancer. Without the ability to use laboratory animals, scientists would lose a means of being able to get the information they need to make decisions on how to protect the human population. Scientists are responsible for treating research animals with compassion and care. There are laws in place to protect research animal’s welfare, and scientists are required to comply with these strict guidelines for animal care.

Studies through animal testing have shown methyl parathion affects animals just as it does humans. Short term exposure to this chemical in animals has caused a decrease in their heart rate. This effect is contributed to the fact that methyl parathion affects the nerves that control the heart. The chemical has also decreased animal’s ability to fight infections in some of the studies conducted, but not in all of them. It has not been proven methyl parathion will have this effect on humans.

How Does Methyl Parathion Affect Children?

Children and adults are most likely exposed to methyl parathion in the same manner. Exposure is mainly through food or drinking water or milk that contains residue of the chemical. Since children are smaller in weight, the intake of methyl parathion is more significant when weighed against their size. The EPA and FDA allow residue of this pesticide to be present in crops used as food and have stated these amounts are considered safe.

Recently, however, the EPA began using stricter guidelines and has restricted the application of methyl parathion on crops that are used as food sources most likely to be eaten by children. This restriction will reduce the exposure of methyl parathion to children.

Children who are exposed to methyl parathion will be effected in much the same way as adults. If exposed to high levels of methyl parathion, even for short periods, children can experience:

  • Changes in their nervous system
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Death

It has not been determined if children are more sensitive to the effects of this chemical than adults. There have been studies performed on rats that have shown young rats are more susceptible to nerve system effects than the older rats.

There is no proof that methyl parathion causes congenital disabilities in humans. In animal testing, studies have shown there are no congenital disabilities when methyl parathion is given by mouth. Still, there were minor congenital disabilities in animals who had doses injected into them while they were pregnant. It still has not been proven if these results would be the same in humans. It is stated that it is highly unlikely a human would be exposed to as much methyl parathion as was transferred to the pregnant rats.

Another animal testing has shown there is evidence of behavior changes in baby animals when their mothers were given this chemical while they were pregnant. Another testing showed mother animals who had been fed methyl parathion had signs of the chemical transferring to their breast milk that was fed to their newborn babies.

How Does Methyl Parathion Enter and Leave Our Bodies?

Methyl parathion enters your body if you drink contaminated water or foods. It can also enter your body if you swim, shower, or bathe in water that has been contaminated. Other ways it enters your body is if you touch plants that have been recently sprayed, or if your skin comes into contact with contaminated soil at sites labeled as hazardous wastes. Breathing air, which contains the chemical near recently sprayed fields or factories, is another method of how this chemical can enter your body. You can also be exposed if you touch contaminated surfaces in your home where methyl parathion has been used to control pests.

However the methyl parathion enters your body, it quickly gets into your bloodstream, from which it will travel to your liver, brain, and other organs. When it enters your liver, methyl parathion is changed to an even more harmful chemical known as methyl paraoxon. These two chemicals bind to enzymes of your nerves within hours or in just minutes. Your liver will break down the methyl paraoxon and methyl parathion into less harmful chemicals. These chemicals will then leave your body through your urine within days or hours.

Tests to Determine if You’ve Been Exposed to Methyl Parathion

There are a number of medical tests, which are able to determine whether or not you’ve been affected by methyl parathion. One of these tests measures the amount of the chemical in your blood and your urine. These tests can only be conducted within 24 hours after your exposure to methyl parathion as the chemical will break down quickly and leave your body. Once the chemical leaves your body, the tests will not work to detect if you will have harmful health effects, or what those effects could possibly lead to.

Another test can be done to measure the level of a substance called cholinesterase in your blood. If your levels are half or less of what is considered ‘normal’ and you have been in contact with this chemical, then signs of poisoning may show. Low cholinesterase can also indicate exposure, but not the harmful effects. Methyl parathion can cause lower cholinesterase levels in your blood plasma and red blood cells. This lowering of cholinesterase can, however, be caused by other circumstances other than this chemical. For more than a month after you’ve been exposed to methyl parathion, your levels of cholinesterase can remain low.

How Does Methyl Parathion Effect the Environment?

Methyl parathion is introduced to the environment from the spraying of crops. Drops of it from the air where the spraying is done drop onto the soil, in water, or onto plants. While the majority of the chemical stays where it is applied, some of it can move to other areas through rain, wind, or fog. Methyl parathion stays in the environment anywhere from a few days to several months. It will degrade to other chemical forms by the sunlight, water, or bacteria found in water or the soil.

When methyl parathion gets onto the soil, it will stick and quickly be degraded by bacteria. Typically, this chemical does not leach through the ground and end up in groundwater. When it gets into water, methyl parathion will break down quickly through the action of the water, sunlight, and bacteria. When this chemical is in the air, it is broken down by the sun to form a more toxic product called methyl paraoxon. If methyl parathion is in concentrated amounts in soils, such as in landfills, it will not degrade as quickly.

How Can We Reduce the Risk of Exposure to Methyl Parathion?

Methyl parathion is only permitted to be applied on crops, including some crops used as a food source for humans. In 1999, the EPA restricted the use of methyl parathion on several food crops as there was a concern for exposure to workers and children. This restriction reduced the risk of exposure from food sources. The general public also is not as likely to be exposed to this chemical.

Persons who live in the area where methyl parathion is used on crops, however, are at risk for exposure. This chemical is often found in air samples and foods where it is used. Persons who live close to areas where this chemical is used are also at risk of exposure as small amounts of the pesticide will move from the place where it is used. Exposure can come from touching contaminated plants, breathing the mist which forms from the sprayed chemical, eating recently sprayed vegetables or fruits, or by drinking contaminated water.

Factory workers where the chemical is produced have the highest risk of exposure, as do the workers who spray it on the crops, and the farm owners where it is sprayed. The entry of the chemical into the body after skin contact is expected to be the number one pathway of exposure for those who work in these operations. Breathing the mist containing methyl parathion can also occur in these areas.

You can reduce your risk of exposure to this chemical in the plants, soil, or air by staying away from the croplands that have recently been sprayed. It is suggested that you wait up to 25 days after the spraying before you enter the sprayed field as after this time, the amount of methyl parathion still present will be small.

Families should know that sometimes methyl parathion is used illegally to spray inside homes for pest control. If an unqualified person applies this pesticide to your home, it puts your children at risk of exposure. There are cases where this chemical has been illegally used to spray a home. After such treatment, the houses had to be labeled as hazardous waste sites. You should only use a certified company when having your home sprayed for pest control.

If you plan to spray your home yourself by purchasing products over-the-counter, you should be sure the product is an unopened pesticide container. The container should be labeled and contain an EPA registration number. You must follow all instructions on the bottle, and if you plan to spray inside your house, make sure the label states it is safe for indoor use. If you or any member of your family feel sick after spraying, contact your doctor immediately. 

Lawsuits Involving Monsanto and Methyl Parathion

Monsanto, an agrochemical company, pleaded guilty to spraying the banned pesticide, which contained the chemical methyl parathion on research crops on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Monsanto, now owned by Bayer of Germany, has agreed to pay millions for having unlawfully stored this chemical, which has been classified as a hazardous waste.

Monsanto, an American agrochemical, agricultural, and biotechnology corporation founded in 1901, was purchased by Bayer in 2018 to be part of their science division. Monsanto is credited for developing products such as Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide. In the 1970s, this company became a major producer of genetically engineered crops.

Monsanto has seen several controversies over the products it produced and is responsible for agricultural changes, lobbying of government agencies, biotechnology products and has roots as a chemical company. Some of their controversial products include PCBs, DDT, Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, and Agent Orange. It created a seed patenting model, which was seen by many communities as a threat to biodiversity as an invasive species.

In court documents filed in the District Court in Honolulu, Monsanto pled guilty to a misdemeanor offense to unlawfully having sprayed a banned pesticide, methyl parathion, on corn seed and research crops. The company admitted they used Penncap-M, even though they knew the EPA prohibited it. They further admitted that after spraying the dangerous chemical, they told their employees to go back into the fields only seven days after the spraying, even though they knew it should have been thirty-one days before they were sent back in.

Find a Methyl Parathion Mass Tort Attorney Near Me

Consumer Alert Now can help you, or someone you know that has been affected by the use of methyl parathion, the illegal chemical used on crops. Call us today at 800-511-0747 and discuss your case and learn how you can file a methyl parathion litigation. The symptoms from this dangerous chemical are severe and in some cases, life-threatening. We can help you find the representation needed to become part of a mass tort against these irresponsible chemical applicators. Call now and speak with our professional representatives to recover the compensation you deserve.