Just a quick reminder that Paraquat users are required to participate in product training every three years. EPA requires that Paraquat applicators take an EPA-approved training program every three years in order to mix, load, apply, or handle Paraquat. This training was first released in 2020 and records indicate that some users may be forgetting to retake the training. Users should check the date printed on their training certificate. Current certification is valid until 3 years after that date. If it is past that time frame, and if you plan to continue to use Paraquat, training is needed.
This course is available online in both English and Spanish. There is also a course for in-person trainers.
Paraquat herbicide is allowed for use only by certified applicators who have taken an approved course. Paraquat is applied annually to control invasive weeds and plants in more than 100 crops—including cotton, corn, and soybeans, and there are presently no direct alternatives to this product. It is highly toxic. In fact, one sip can kill and there is no antidote unfortunately.
In October 2020, EPA proposed new safety measures for Paraquat to reduce risks associated with Paraquat in order to better protect human health and the environment. These are outlined in the November/December 2020 issue of the Illinois Pesticide Review. Proactive steps were taken to ensure Paraquat is used in a manner that is safe and consistent with the label directions. In August 2021, EPA released its registration review interim decision which finalized the new, stronger safety measures in place now.
For more information about Paraquat, see EPA’s website for a list of frequently asked questions. Additionally, this page provides information on using Paraquat products safely, human health, ecological health, and EPA actions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Wiesbrook provides subject matter expertise and training in pesticide safety with an emphasis on horticultural weed science. She serves as the Illinois Pesticide Review newsletter editor, collecting and organizing material; and co-coordinates social media information for the PSEP program and ensures its timely publication.