EPA proposes new worker protection rules for paraquat herbicide

spraying plant beds

Courtesy University of Florida

Citing accidental exposure that has caused injuries and even death, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new worker protection rules for those handling the herbicide, paraquat.

Among the changes are:

• New closed-system packaging designed to make it nearly impossible to transfer or remove the pesticide except directly into the proper application equipment.

• Special training for certificated applicators who use paraquat to emphasize proper storage.

• Changes to the pesticide label and warning materials to highlight toxicity and risks associated with the herbicide.

In addition, the changes, if approved, would prohibit paraquat application from hand-held or backpack equipment and restrict all uses to certified pesticide applicators. Individuals working under the supervision of a certified applicator would be barred from using paraquat.

The EPA will accept public comments for 60 days, ending May 19. To view the proposal, visit the EPA.