Updated Paraquat Safety Measures

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a number of new safety measures to reduce the risks of paraquat exposures to applicators. This includes:

  • Changing labels and other supplemental warning materials to emphasize paraquat toxicity.
  • Requiring training (every three years) for paraquat users.
  • Restricting the use of all paraquat products to certified applicators only.
  • Requiring closed system packaging for all non-bulk (less than 120 gallons) end use product containers of paraquat.

Earlier this year, additional changes to the paraquat label were released, including:

  • Requiring limitations on aerial applications, including a residential buffer.
  • Prohibiting pressurized handgun and backpack sprayer applications.
  • Requiring enclosed cabs or respirators for groundboom applications.
  • Increasing the Restricted Entry Interval (REI) for several crops.

The following document from the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) provides an excellent summary of the new rules (including the bullets above) and answers frequently asked questions about the rules.

Just as a reminder, applicators must complete an online training every three years if they plan to apply paraquat. In addition, every applicator applying paraquat must have a pesticide applicator’s license.  Applicators may no longer apply paraquat under the supervision of another certified applicator.  Use this guide for step-by-step instructions on how to complete the training.

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