PAN AP Monograph on Paraquat

Prepared by Meriel Watts PhD
30 September 2010

Paraquat is the most highly acutely toxic herbicide to be marketed over the last 60 years. Yet it is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, and in most countries where it is registered it can be used without restriction. It is used on more than 100 crops in about 100 countries.

Gramoxone, manufactured by Syngenta, is the most common trade name for paraquat, but the herbicide is also sold under many different names by many different manufacturers. China is now the world’s largest manufacturer of paraquat, producing more than 100,000 tonnes per year.

Paraquat has been banned, or use disallowed, in 32 countries (including the countries of the European Union), mainly for health reasons. But there has been strong industry resistance to including paraquat in the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent and it remains outside the PIC list. Many international organisations, such as Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council, and food giants like Dole have voluntarily banned it from their production systems.

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