Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist; firstname.lastname@example.org
A new certified applicator training module for paraquat (also known as Gramoxone) is now available. The training was developed by paraquat manufacturers as part of EPA’s 2016 risk mitigation requirements and approved by EPA.
Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. for weed control in many agricultural and non-agricultural settings and is also used as a harvest aid. Paraquat is a restricted use pesticide for use only by a certified applicator. The restriction applies to mixing, loading, and applying paraquat, as well as other pesticide handling activities.
Since 2000, 17 deaths have been caused by accidental ingestion of paraquat. Many of these deaths were as a result of people illegally transferring the pesticide to beverage containers, and the victim later mistaking it for a drink. A single sip can be fatal. In addition to the deaths by accidental ingestion, three more deaths and many severe injuries have been caused by the pesticide getting onto the skin or into the eyes of those working with it.
To help prevent these tragedies, certified applicators must now take paraquat-specific training before use. The training emphasizes that the chemical must not be transferred to or stored in improper containers. The training also covers paraquat toxicity, new label requirements and restrictions, consequences of misuse, and other important information.
The requirement for training is only one of several actions EPA has taken to prevent poisonings, including making label changes, restricting the use of all paraquat products to certified applicators only, and requiring closed-system packaging for all non-bulk (less than 120 gallon) end use product containers of paraquat.
Training module can be found at: https://campus.extension.org/course/view.php?id=1660
List of FAQs at EPA website: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/paraquat-dichloride-training-certified-applicators
Mitigation decision and other supporting documents at www.regulations.gov under docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0855.