The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized an interim decision on the herbicide paraquat, allowing the product to remain on the market for another 15 years but putting new safety restrictions in place.
The agency walked back a proposal to ban aerial application but will limit pilots to spraying 350 acres per day and impose residential buffers during aerial applications. The new rules also require enclosed tractor cabs for farmers or farmworkers applying paraquat to more than 80 acres per day, banned use of paraquat in backpack sprayers, and prohibited workers from entering a field until 48 hours after paraquat is applied.
Paraquat is applied annually to control invasive weeds and grasses in certain crops, including corn and soybeans. It’s a Restricted Use Product, meaning it can only be used by certified pesticide applicators.