Picture of Products Of Paraquat Herbicdes

Why is the Paraquat Herbicide banned in Nigeria?

Hello guys, if you are reading this it means you know what a paraquat dichloride herbicide is. But, I will give a brief summary of what a paraquat herbicide is, to aid others who may not know this and may have stumbled on this article, understand better. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the organic chemistry behind it.

From the onset, a herbicide is any chemical used to control or kill vegetation/plants. They are two types of herbicides, selective and non-selective herbicides. The selective herbicides affect specific plant species while the non-selective herbicides affect all plants generally. Under the non- selective herbicides are two subtypes; the Glyphosate herbicide and the Paraquat herbicide; which we will be discussing.

 The paraquat, also known as methyl viologen, is a non- selective herbicide, use for the control of weeds (such as annual grasses and broad leaves weeds) in many agricultural and non-agricultural settings. It is also used as a defoliant on crops such as cotton, before its harvest. It is known for it quick-acting effect on plant and is best used during the raining season for clearing. Some products examples that contain paraquat include Paraforce, Dragon, Weedcrusher, Weedoff, Reliquat, Slasher, Gramazone etc. 

Picture Of Gramaxone Paraquat Di Chloride Herbicide

The paraquat is able to kill these weeds because of its chemical components which target the chloroplast of these weeds by transferring electrons from photosystem to molecular oxygen to generate toxic reactive oxygen species, which results in membrane damage and overall death of the plant or weeds. Yes, I know I said no chemistry. To simply put, the paraquat herbicides hinders photosynthesis, which is the breathing mechanism of plants, hence resulting to the plants death.

The paraquat is toxic and lethal to human beings and animals, both in contact, ingestion and inhalation. In contact with skin, it has to know to cause skin irritation. When ingested or inhaled, it leads to severe inflammation of organs especially the lungs, causing severe lung damage and death. The paraquat has a very high death percentage when ingested, and it has been linked with many suicidal deaths over the years since its creation. The paraquat herbicide has also been linked to Parkinson disease. According to studies conducted from several institutions over the years, it has been found that prolong use of the the paraquat herbicide, even in diluted form, causes Parkinson's. These studies explain that the paraquat increases production of certain oxygen derivatives that harm the cellular cells of the paraquat user and overtime such person(s) are more likely to develop Parkinson.

This single reason has resulted to an ongoing international campaign for a global ban, but the cheap and popular paraquat continues to be unrestricted in most developing countries. For example, paraquat has been banned in the European Union since 2007, in China and Switzerland, but countries like Guatemala and India have blocked listing paraquat as a hazardous chemical. The United States added 15 years prolong use of the paraquat but are directed be used by licensed applicators only. The herbicide has also been banned in few African countries with Nigeria following behind by 1st January 2024.

Although the paraquat is attributed with all this effects, it is still a good chemical for weed control, that is why the best advice still remains: ‘read and follow the label directions on the product you are using, keep product in its original packaging, and never put product in any type of food container, especially a drink container’. Also, protect yourself by putting on safety gears.



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