Is Paraquat Banned in the United States?

Paraquat is an herbicide first created in the 1960s and used for decades by farmers to kill weeds and other plants.

Unfortunately, Paraquat is also very toxic if ingested or inhaled, where swallowing even a small sip of this herbicide can cause death within hours.

Do you suspect that your exposure to Paraquat is linked to your Parkinson’s disease diagnosis or another devastating health condition?

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for every person harmed by chemicals regulated by the EPA. We are actively pursuing Paraquat lawsuits involving Parkinson’s Disease.

Contact our product liability lawyers at (888) 424-5757 for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation to discuss the compensation you deserve. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Paraquat is among the most widely used herbicides used for over 50 years in the United States. However, it has recently become illegal to use without special training and certification from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA made this change because they are concerned about Paraquat’s toxicity. This chemical can cause damage to your lungs, kidneys, and liver if you don’t handle it properly or follow proper safety precautions.

Suppose you have ever applied Paraquat yourself or hired an individual who did so. In that case, you need to keep up with any changes regarding its use and legality in different states throughout America.

You should also be aware of all the current laws surrounding this toxic herbicide before using it on your property or hiring someone else to do so for you.

What is Paraquat Dichloride?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Paraquat is “an organic compound that acts as a non-selective contact herbicide which is intended for pre-and post-emergent weed control in all types of non-cropland areas.”

The EPA first registered pesticide Paraquat in 1962, but it has been used much longer than this in many other countries worldwide. It is used to control weeds on lawns, golf courses, and in non-crop areas.

Paraquat Herbicide Not Banned in United States

As many countries have banned the use of Paraquat, the herbicide is legal in the U.S. and can be applied by people with special training.

How Paraquat Works

Paraquat products begin working as soon as applied to your lawn or garden because they act as a desiccant. A desiccant is any substance that efficiently removes water from plant tissue.

This dangerous herbicide travels through the plant’s leaves, removing moisture until it eventually kills the entire plant.

The speed at which Paraquat takes effect depends on how well the target species absorb it.

Why Paraquat is Harmful

The EPA has classified this herbicide as a “restricted use pesticide” due to its toxicity. Therefore, you must have a special certification from the EPA to purchase it and apply it yourself.

However, there are several different names for this herbicide that you might come across while shopping for paraquat-free alternatives named Weedone or Weedol, or similar knockoffs.

The manufacturers must list Paraquat as an ingredient on the label, so you need to read all of the ingredients before purchasing.

In addition, only commercially licensed users and trained agricultural workers can handle, use, and apply Paraquat and other herbicides known to cause health issues.

The weed killer is sold under many names, including:

  • Paraquat Dichloride
  • Methyl Parathion
  • Gramoxone extra
  • Curex Forte
  • Bromex

Why Paraquat Dichloride Should Be Banned in the United States

The EPA bans many restricted pesticides because they are toxic substances that can be harmful if used improperly or without safety precautions. For example, Paraquat is banned because it can cause significant damage to the body if ingested or inhaled.

This herbicide can also cause flu-like symptoms in humans who contact the substance.

Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision, and burning pain in the nose and lungs if inhaled. In addition, when Paraquat contacts your skin, it can cause the skin to blister and fall off.

How Can I Legally Use Paraquat Dichloride?

If you have a special certification from the EPA, you will be able to purchase and use Paraquat for your lawn or garden.

However, the manufacturer of this herbicide recommends that you wear protective clothing and a mask when applying it.

It includes long pants and sleeves, gloves, safety goggles or glasses covering the eyes completely, and non-vented goggles or a respirator specifically designed for paraquat application.

How Can I Legally Purchase Paraquat Dichloride?

You can only legally purchase this herbicide if you have a special certification from the EPA. A list of dealers who are allowed to sell Paraquat can be found on the manufacturer’s website.

Paraquat use by anyone not certified is illegal and can result in legal action.

Paraquat is one of many pesticides used today classified as a Restricted Use Pesticide, meaning only trained applicators can purchase or apply these chemicals.

Environmental Health Effects

Paraquat is toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms destroying biological diversity. Always follow the label instructions for use and safety precautions when using this herbicide.

The negative effects of using Paraquat could last for decades and affect the entire ecosystem.

Paraquat Alternatives

Many manufacturers create paraquat-free products that act as broadleaf herbicides, also known as weedkillers. Look for a product that will kill the weeds on your lawn while being safe for people and pets who mow or play on it after application.

For example, Scotts produces a broadleaf weedkiller called “Turf Builder Weed & Feed,” containing fertilizer and two different chemicals to control broadleaf weeds.

You will have to look at the label on these products, as some may contain Paraquat, while others do not.

Check the ingredients list for a weedkiller that does not include Paraquat or other restricted use herbicides, so you can be sure to stay within EPA regulations when using these products.

Paraquat Banned in the European Union and Around the World

The herbicide Paraquat is banned worldwide, but it is legal to purchase and use in the United States under certain circumstances.

Major countries worldwide have strictly prohibited the use of Paraquat, including:

Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, China, and Brazil

In the United States, Paraquat use has not been banned in commercial applications even though the product has been linked to Parkinson’s disease among backpack sprayers and human flaggers working with airplanes spraying the substance.

There are many brands of Paraquat that are available for purchase by certified applicators only.

Millions of people contact poison control centers every year because they have ingested or inhaled this toxic pesticide.

European Union regulators have banned the use of Paraquat because it is a highly hazardous substance that poses a significant danger to humans and the environment.

Reviewing the Environmental Protection Agency Stand on Using Paraquat

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency imposed changes to Paraquat’s labeling and packaging after identifying the illegal transfer of the toxic chemical into beverage containers leading to accidental ingestion and death.

Since then, the government agency has recognized the increased risk of Parkinson’s disease with exposure to pesticides that cause dangerous health issues or similar outcomes.

Since the EPA began regulating Paraquat in the 1970s, it has issued several warnings about the dangers of this herbicide.

According to the EPA, commercial users should wear protective clothing such as long pants and sleeves, gloves, safety goggles or glasses that cover the eyes completely, and non-vented goggles or a respirator specifically designed for paraquat application.

Other safety precautions include avoiding exposure to the skin, eyes, mouth, and clothing.

Paraquat is highly toxic to humans if ingested or inhaled. In addition, this herbicide can cause serious damage to internal organs, including the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and brain.

Symptoms of exposure include nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision, and burning pain in the nose and lungs.

If Paraquat contacts your skin, it can cause the skin to blister and fall off, as well as flu-like symptoms, including ongoing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps.

Yet, there are no specific antidotes for accidental ingestion of Paraquat.

Therefore, treatment is generally symptomatic and supportive.

What the Paraquat Health Risks Mean to You

There are no safe uses for this toxic pesticide, so it should never be present in your household. If you suspect that you have been exposed to paraquat dichloride, seek medical attention immediately and call poison control.

Even minimal exposure to Paraquat or accidental ingestion of the toxic weed killer could be detrimental to human health.

Studies show that Paraquat use has strong links to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

However, while many countries ban Paraquat use, several countries, including the United States, allow the toxic chemical through the ground and aerial applications by trained workers.

Parkinson’s Disease and Paraquat Dichloride Exposure

Studies link Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease. For example, a study published in the “American Journal of Epidemiology” found that people who were exposed to Paraquat ten or more years prior were 40 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who had not been exposed.

The herbicide is a highly hazardous substance that has been linked to other health problems, including lung cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and liver damage.

Also, according to the report, it can affect people exposed to this pesticide both during its application and manufacturing processes.

The pesticide Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease link remains controversial, but some studies support the ban on Paraquat.

According to the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council and the Michael J. Fox Foundation, patients with Parkinson’s disease are at an increased risk for respiratory problems, including shortness of breath, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other forms of medical illness.

If you feel as though you may have been exposed, seek medical attention immediately.

Unfortunately, there is no antidote for accidental ingestion of Paraquat, so treatment will focus on minimizing your symptoms.

Paraquat Dichloride Toxic Symptoms

Common diseases and symptoms associated with Paraquat exposure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • COPD (chronic obstructed pulmonary disease)
  • Lung Cancer
  • Neurodegenerative Disease (some people developed Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, etc.)
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Organ damage (kidney, liver, heart)

The symptoms of Paraquat exposure can be delayed by days or even weeks after Paraquat ingestion or inhalation. If you believe that you may have been exposed, seek medical attention immediately.

Environmental factors and long-term exposure to Paraquat and other toxic chemicals can cause reproductive harm and cause permanent changes to human health.

Yet, only two pesticides, Paraquat and Roundup, have been partially or completely banned by the European Union, even by trained agricultural workers.

Paraquat Exposure and Suicide

Paraquat’s high toxicity created a deadly option for suicide. In 1985, a record number of people in Hong Kong committed suicide by ingesting Paraquat.

Many of these suicides were teenagers and young adults who did not have access to guns or other killing methods.

The Green Cross Chemical Company is the only authorized chemical manufacturer worldwide, controlling the supply and demand for this toxic pesticide under many brand names.

When the suicide rate was high in Hong Kong, Green Cross reduced the amount of Paraquat on the market and made it more difficult to purchase, as it did when the product was linked to Parkinson’s disease.

The reduction in paraquat availability caused suicides among teenagers and young adults to decrease. However, one drop on the tongue can be deadly, so this pesticide is a serious threat.

The only saving grace in the United States regarding Paraquat is that the EPA has not approved it for consumer use.

However, suppose you have gardens or lawns that need to be treated. In that case, there are many commercial products available, including Drexel Imitator, Forsythia Fruit, and Shoot Borer Spray, Ortho Bug B Gon, and Bonide Annual Tree and Shrub Weed Preventer.

Paraquat is a restricted use pesticide that certified pesticide applicators can only apply. Therefore, it is illegal to use this herbicide in the United States for non-commercial purposes.

Paraquat use can be very hazardous to humans if ingested, inhaled, or contacts the skin. If you suspect someone that you know has been exposed to Paraquat, seek medical attention immediately.

Using Paraquat Dichloride Products Safely

The EPA has recently updated its safety precautions for Paraquat.

These include the following:

  • Read and follow all label instructions carefully before applying any pesticide product.
  • Wear adequate personal protective clothing, including long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, boots, socks, chemical-resistant gloves made of any waterproof material, and goggles or other chemical-resistant protective eyewear.
  • Avoid skin contact with Paraquat. When mixing or applying the product, wear waterproof gloves, aprons, boots, socks, and chemical-resistant goggles or face shields.
  • Wash after handling Paraquat and before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco products, or using the toilet.
  • Remove all clothing with Paraquat and toxic chemicals before entering a home, car, or other enclosed space to prevent dermal exposure to Paraquat.
  • Wash and dry treated clothing separately from other household laundry items.
  • Rinse empty containers thoroughly and place them in an outdoor trash container or reuse the container in another manner.
  • Dispose of used paraquat containers following all applicable state/local/federal regulations.

If you must dispose of an empty container before it is empty, place the cap on tightly and secure it with duct tape to prevent leakage during disposal.

If there is leakage, wipe the inside surfaces of the container with a rag and place it in an outdoor trash container or reuse it in another manner.

Spilling Paraquat

If you suspect Paraquat has been spilled on anything other than clothing, immediately clean up the spill using protective equipment as described above.

  • Completely remove all dust or residue from treated containers before cleaning them.
  • Do not reuse disposable paper products (e.g., rags, towels, sponges) used to clean up Paraquat.
  • Clean spray equipment after each use with a solution of 2 parts water and 1part household bleach; rinse thoroughly with potable water.
  • Do not use household cleaning equipment such as a vacuum cleaner for this purpose, and do not allow the bleach solution to enter storm sewers or any body of water.
  • Keep all washed waters out of public sewer systems and waterways and dispose of them appropriately, following applicable state/local/federal regulations.
  • Store in the original container in an area inaccessible to children in a locked storage cabinet or other secure location.
  • To avoid potential dermal exposure to Paraquat, do not eat, drink, smoke, chew gum, use tobacco products, or apply cosmetics while handling Paraquat products.
  • Wash hands before eating, drinking, smoking, chewing gum, using tobacco products, or applying cosmetics.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after handling Paraquat.

Pesticide Regulation

In California, the Department of Pesticide Regulation has established a 25-pound limit on the amount of Paraquat that may be applied per acre annually as of April 1, 2010. As of April 1, 2010, no more than 25 pounds of Paraquat may be applied per acre for each of the following uses:

  • Lawn and turf care
  • Ornamentals
  • Food-bearing crops grown for human consumption on sites with a permanent residence
  • Non-commercial site applications including golf courses and athletic fields, such as Little League ballparks
  • Rangeland and pastures in California that are not used for animal feed or bedding, excluding public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

For emergency or other short-term uses, the annual application limit is up to 1.5 pounds per acre per year on turf and non-bearing sites, 3 pounds per acre on range land, and 5 pounds per acre on pastures not used for animal feed or bedding.

Restricted Use Pesticide

In Illinois, the Department of Agriculture has reclassified Paraquat as a restricted pesticide, effective June 1, 2010.

Under this new classification:

  • Only certified applicators may purchase and apply to Paraquat.
  • The use of Paraquat is limited to the control of brush and noxious weeds around powerline rights-of-way, road and railroads, commercial forest land, woodlands managed for wildlife habitat, and non-crop areas around commercial forest land.
  • Paraquat is also allowed in canals, drainage canals, ditches, storm sewers, utility lines, fence rows, highways and roads, railroad rights-of-way, non-crop areas around commercial forest land, and non-crop areas around residential dwellings.
  • The new regulations permit the use of Paraquat only on a pre-plant, pre-emergent basis.
  • It is prohibited for any use beginning June 1 through November 30 in Illinois.
  • Spray adjuvants are prohibited unless the applicator has applied Paraquat following the label for less than three years.
  • The applicant is also prohibited from making more than one application per year.

Both California and Illinois have established PROHIBITED USE DISTRICTS where Paraquat is banned.

These are areas in which human exposure to pesticide paraquat is considered especially high, including:

  • Public rights-of-way
  • Playgrounds
  • Schools
  • Recreational parks
  • Daycare centers

The formulation use of Paraquat in these areas is prohibited, and Paraquat formulation beyond 25 pounds per acre in California or Illinois has been banned.


Paraquat is a dangerous herbicide used for weed control in lawns, gardens, and non-crop areas. The EPA first registered it in 1962, but it has been used much longer than this worldwide.

This herbicide works by removing moisture from the plant until it dies.

The EPA classifies Paraquat as a restricted pesticide because it is highly toxic and can cause serious health problems if ingested or inhaled.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney to Handle a Paraquat Case

Were you or a family member injured after exposure to Paraquat or other herbicides used on agricultural fields in residential areas?

Do you suspect that the highly toxic substance or glyphosate led to your Parkinson’s disease, another illness, and damages?

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our attorneys protect people harmed by Paraquat, Roundup, and other herbicides.

Call our legal team today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation.

We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis, meaning no upfront fees are paid until the case is resolved.