Paraquat Use Requires Certification

Ernie NeffHerbicides, Regulation

By Ajia Paolillo

If you use herbicides containing paraquat dichloride in your citrus groves, you must be aware of the use certification requirements for this product. In 2016, certifications and training for using this herbicide were put into place following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) risk mitigation requirements. Any person that uses paraquat must meet these requirements.

The first requirement is that any person using paraquat must be a certified pesticide applicator, which means they possess their own restricted-use pesticide license. Unlike other pesticides, they cannot use, handle or apply this product while operating under their supervisor’s license.

Furthermore, they must also receive a separate certification, indicating that they passed an EPA-approved paraquat training course. This training requirement is listed on the product label. The EPA’s website identifies those who need to take the training: “Any person who intends to use paraquat must be a certified applicator and is required to take the training. ‘Use’ includes pre-application activities involving mixing and loading the pesticide; applying the pesticide; and other pesticide-related activities, including, but not limited to, transporting or storing opened pesticide containers, cleaning equipment and disposing of excess pesticides, spray mix, equipment wash waters, pesticide containers, and other paraquat-containing materials.”

Many have completed these requirements to apply paraquat. Restricted-use pesticide licenses are renewed every four years, but the paraquat training certification needs to be completed at a minimum of every three years.

If you need the initial training or recertification, access the training at the Extension Foundation website. You will need to create an account if this is your first time taking the training, or you can log into your account for recertification. The free online training will supply a certificate upon completion of the test at the end of the module. Keep a copy of your certificate, as you may be asked to show this during a regulatory inspection.

Ajia Paolillo is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension multi-county citrus agent based in Arcadia.  

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