WASHINGTON— The Environmental Protection Agency today reapproved paraquat, the most acutely lethal pesticide still in use.
The weedkiller has resulted in the deaths of at least 30 people in the United States in the past 30 years and is one of only two pesticides still in U.S. use that is banned in the European Union, China and Brazil. It has been found to double the risk of Parkinson’s disease in farmworkers and to harm and kill wildlife.
Today’s decision reverses protections proposed last year by the Trump administration that would have banned aerial application of the pesticide in most cases. This decision allows the aerial spraying of paraquat on all approved crops, including within 50 feet of houses for some applications. The EPA cited data provided by a pesticide industry consortium called The Agricultural Handler Exposure Task Force as leading to today’s reversal.
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