The EPA is proposing mitigation measures to minimize human health incidents associated with paraquat dichloride.
Paraquat dichloride, or simply paraquat, is possibly the most toxic herbicide in use today. Paraquat has resulted in 27 deaths between 1990 and 2014, reports the EPA, which has just proposed interim mitigation measures to reduce the risk of fatalities and injuries. The primary concern addressed in the measures is availability of paraquat to the general population and applicators who are not certified to use paraquat, which is a federal restricted use pesticide (RUP). The five proposed measures are intended to significantly reduce the general population’s access and exposure to paraquat.
Paraquat has been used in the United States since 1964 to control weeds in many agricultural and nonagricultural use sites. It is also applied as a preharvest desiccant on some crops, including cotton. An average of 4 million pounds of paraquat were applied annually to over 7 million acres between 2011 and 2013.