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by Aaron Cato - December 18, 2019
Here’s what you need to know about label changes for Paraquat and what new restrictions
and requirements will be required of applicators.
In 2016 the EPA released updated use and label requirements for herbicides containing
paraquat dichloride, which is commonly referred to as paraquat and sold under trade
names such as Gramoxone®. Although many of these rules and regulations have been
in effect since 2016, changes to product containers and use are just now kicking-in
in late 2019 into 2020. We’ve received a lot of questions recently about what these
changes mean for Arkansas growers and provided below is a summary.
See the EPA page on paraquat dichloride (https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/paraquat-dichloride-training-certified-applicators) for more information.
Paraquat containing herbicides are registered as a restricted use pesticides (RUP)
and can only be used by certified applicators. Since the year 2000 there have been
17 deaths involving accidental ingestion of paraquat, and 3 deaths and many severe
injuries related to the pesticide getting on the skin or into the eyes of those working
with the herbicide. Due to the excessive toxicity of this pesticide, additional regulations
have been imposed to prevent exposure to both trained and untrained individuals.
Additional rules and regulations imposed in 2016 and required today on new labels:
Manufacturers are required to have updated labeling on new product by November 19, 2019 that enforces the new regulations and restrictions mentioned above. This means that
the additional training and use restrictions will be required for all newly manufactured
paraquat containing herbicides (including mixes). Product with the old labels are
required to be out of the market by the end of 2020.
All certified pesticide applicators that use herbicides containing paraquat will be
required by law to have taken the additional training before application. This only
applies to herbicides containing paraquat with the updated label, but we are quickly
approaching this label being on every used container. This training can be taken at https://campus.extension.org/enrol/index.php?id=1660. This training is free and is good for 3 years with a score of 100% on the required
test. If you’ve already taken the training, be sure to recertify within 3 years.
Example of new language present on Gramoxone® and other paraquat containing herbicide
September 30, 2020 is the last date that manufacturers can sell paraquat containing
herbicide that does not comply with the closed-system requirements. After this date
it will be up to purchasers (growers) to have a system in place that can work with
these new types of containers. Work with your local pesticide supplier to determine
how the containers can be used effectively.
These changes are being put in place to avoid dangerous incidents that have occurred
from the necessary and widespread use of such a toxic and essential herbicide. To
avoid any regulatory issues or breaking the law of the label in any way, make sure
all people in your operation have an up-to-date pesticide applicator license and have
taken the online training before handling or applying paraquat. Read the new label
to be sure and go to the EPA webpage on paraquat dichloride (https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/paraquat-dichloride-training-certified-applicators) for an informative frequently asked questions (FAQs) section and additional information.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (2019) Paraquat dichloride. https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/paraquat-dichloride. Accessed: December 17, 2019