Paraquat, like other active ingredients, is constantly being studied by national and global authorities and other researchers. These experts support that when used properly, paraquat can deliver safe, effective weed control, generating greater social and economic benefits, while protecting the land for future generations.
A summary of recent regulatory decisions related to paraquat as well as a list of countries in which paraquat is currently registered is given below.
Recent Regulatory Decisions
In recent years, paraquat has been approved for re-registration following rigorous evaluation by regulatory authorities all over the world. Paraquat has also received periodic re-evaluations of both toxicology and dietary residues by the WHO and FAO, respectively. A new FAO specification for paraquat was also established under the revised process for FAO and WHO specifications for pesticides.
Examples of most recent regulatory decisions are from Colombia and Guatemala (2012), the Philippines and Thailand (2011), Malaysia (2010), New Zealand (full re-registration 2007), Canada (full re-registration 2006), USA (label extensions and tolerance settings 2006).
A judgment by the Court of First Instance of the European Community (CFI) on 11th July 2007 was that the Commission Directive (2003/112/EC of 1st December 2003) which included paraquat in Annex I to Council Directive 91/414/EEC was annulled.
The CFI decision to annul the Annex I inclusion of paraquat criticised the way in which the re-registration procedure was handled and the manner in which the Commission interpreted the relevant laws and applied them to its analysis of the data. The CFI did not decide itself on the safety of the substance.
The CFI decision is not in itself a ban on paraquat, but as a result of both the decision and the expiry of measures permitting Member State authorisations to remain in force during the previous review of paraquat for inclusion in Annex I, the Member States had to withdraw or suspend their national authorisations.
The major manufacturer of paraquat, Syngenta, comments on the status of paraquat in the European Union here.
This decision does not affect the ability of farmers outside of the EU to use paraquat on products that they export to the EU. The EU maximum residue levels for paraquat remained unchanged and can be found on the official EU MRL database.
- In August 1997, the US Environmental Protection Agency concluded “The use of currently registered products containing paraquat dichloride in accordance with approved labeling will not pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment. Therefore, all uses of these products are eligible for re-registration”
A fact sheet and re-registration eligibility document are available here
- In December 2003, the EU concluded “It has appeared from the various examinations made that there are uses of plant protection products containing paraquat which may be expected to satisfy, in general, the requirements laid down in Article 5(1)(a) and (b) of Directive 91/414/EEC, provided appropriate risk-mitigation measures and restrictions are applied.”
This statement, and the references therein, means that the EU has concluded that there are uses of paraquat, following good agricultural practice, which will not have any harmful effects on human or animal health or on groundwater, or have any unacceptable influence on the environment. This decision allows for continued registration of paraquat products in EU countries. The decision was subject to compliance with various requirements, including a stewardshipDescription The responsible and ethical management of a crop protection product in a way that takes full and balanced account of the interests of users, future generations, and other species. Authoritative On-line References and Resources http://www.croplife.org/ CropLife International is a global federation representing the plant science industry and a network of regional and national associations in 91 countries. These organisations are committed to sustainable agriculture through innovative research and technology in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. program for operator safety and a monitoring program for operator health problems and wildlife incidents.
The review report and regulatory decision are available here
- In 2003, paraquat was reviewed under a periodic re-evaluation of toxicology under the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR). Its toxicological properties were evaluated and the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of paraquat was established. This allows an assessment of consumer safety to be made.
The 2003 JMPR report is available online here
- In 2004, paraquat was reviewed under a periodic re-evaluation of dietary residues under the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), “The Meeting concluded that the intake of residues of paraquat resulting from uses considered by the current JMPR was unlikely to present a public health concern.”
The 2004 JMPR report is available here.
The Codex Maximum Residue Limits for paraquat can be found here.
In 2003, the FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Specifications (JMPS) decided to establish a revised specification for paraquat technical concentrate under the new FAO/WHO procedure. These specifications promote the manufacture, distribution and use of pesticides that meet basic quality requirements. The specifications provide an international point of reference against which products can be judged, either for regulatory purposes or in commercial dealings, and thus help prevent the trading of inferior products.
In 2008, the FAO specification was amended for SL and SG formulations.
Syngenta is the only paraquat manufacturer who can claim that its paraquat material was reviewed by JMPS and complies with the FAO specification as Syngenta is the only manufacturer who has submitted a data package and specification (which have then been evaluated as acceptable) in accordance with current JMPS procedures.
In line with their obligations under Article 6.2.4 of the FAO International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides (2002), any other paraquat manufacturer should, at the earliest opportunity, provide data packages and specifications to the JMPS under the new procedure, for assessment of equivalence.
Paraquat is registered and sold in around 90 developed and developing countries around the world, including key major agricultural markets with some of the most demanding regulatory systems such as USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. A list of countries where paraquat is registered and sold (March 2012) is shown below.
|Antigua & Barbuda||Iran||Samoa|
|Argentina||Iraq||Sao Tome & Principe|
|Belize||Kenya||St Kitts & Nevis|
|Brazil||Madagascar||St Vincent & Grenadines|
|Cuba||Myanmar||Trinidad & Tobago|
Papua New Guinea