New EPA Paraquat Restrictions

Drew Wolter, UC Davis Graduate Student, Weed Science Program

As the 2020 growing season approaches, California growers, PCAs and handlers will have new regulations to take into consideration. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the new requirements for handling paraquat (paraquat dichloride). The new EPA restrictions on paraquat aim to help protect Restricted Use Pesticide handlers, and others who may come into contact with these pesticides. However, these requirements will have a ripple effect on growers, distributors and the California agriculture community. Label changes emphasizing paraquat toxicity, restrictions and safe handling were completed November 2019. What changes did the EPA mandate?

Supplemental warning materials:
The containers of paraquat products will be required to include several supplemental warnings. These include a sticker with a, “one sip can kill”, warning affixed near the dispensing valve and a product package safety requirements sticker affixed to the container. All of the supplemental warning materials will be in English, Spanish and pictogram format.

Restricting USE of all paraquat products to certified applicators. Two certifications will be required in order to use paraquat products:

  • Certified pesticide applicator’s license/permit from your state or tribal authority.
    • There are three main types of applicator certifications in California: Qualified Applicator License (QAL), Qualified Applicator Certificate (QAC) and Private Applicator Certification (PAC).
  • Paraquat-specific training certificate in your name, obtained via online training at, currently hosted by the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC).

How is paraquat use defined?
“Use” includes pre-application activities involving mixing and loading paraquat. Use also includes applying paraquat, transporting or storing opened containers, cleaning equipment, and disposing of excess product, spray mix, equipment wash waters, empty pesticide containers, and other paraquat-containing materials. Non-certified applicators will no longer be allowed to use (see “use” definition above) paraquat, even under the supervision of certified applicators.

Will existing paraquat products need to be relabeled?
No, retailers will be allowed to sell the “old” labeled products until supplies are exhausted.

For more information on the changes to Paraquat labeling and restrictions visit:


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