EPA requires certified training for paraquat applicators

            Producers or commercial applicators using paraquat are now required to complete a certified applicator training module for the herbicide, according to the EPA.

The required online training module link is athttp://bit.ly/paraquattraining. Only certified applicators can use the herbicide.

Paraquat dichloride is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. for weed control in many agricultural and non-agricultural settings and is sold under a variety of brand names.

An example of use in Wyoming is Big Horn Basin alfalfa seed producers or commercial applicators using the restricted-use contact herbicide to desiccate alfalfa prior to seed harvest, said Jeremiah Vardiman, a University of Wyoming Extension educator based in Park County.

Seventeen deaths have been attributed to paraquat misuse since 2000 and many other severe injuries have been caused by the pesticide getting on skin or in the eyes. Many of the deaths have been caused by illegally transferring the pesticide to beverage containers and being mistaken for a drink, said the USDA. A single sip can cause death.

“The risk is with the applicators and not the food supply,” said Vardiman.