Back to top


Paraquat's Five Golden Rules for safe use

Paraquat, like all pesticides, must be used carefully. Follow the 5 Golden Rules for safe use:

  1. Exercise caution at all times
  2. Read and understand the product label
  3. Wash after spraying
  4. Maintain sprayer
  5. Use personal protective clothing and equipment

These are described in more detail below. To watch the video, click on the image on the right.

1. Exercise caution at all times

  • Be aware of the risks involved in applying crop protection products
  • Use a systematic approach to measuring and mixing concentrated product, spraying and post-spraying cleaning procedures
  • Keep children and animals away from spraying sites and operations
  • Store product and application equipment safely
  • Never put paraquat in a container that is not designed for pesticide use (beverage containers, etc.)
  • Some countries require closed system use of paraquat products (read the specific  product label)
  • Dispose of waste product and packaging materials properly
  • Assess weather conditions (wind speed and direction, temperature)
  • Avoid drift
  • No smoking, eating or drinking whilst handling

 2. Read and understand the product label

  • Users and advisors must read all the information on the product label (technical, usage and safety), and note explanations of international hazard symbols, before use.
  • Comprehensive pictograms are provided to assist users who have reading difficulties. lliterate users and advisors should study the meanings of the pictograms on the label.

 3. Wash after spraying

  • Wash thoroughly (shower or bath) after the task.
  • Wash work clothes and personal protective equipment (PPE) thoroughly and separately from other household laundry.
  • Wash immediately if a spill occurs, paying particular attention to eye contamination.

4. Maintain sprayer

  • Understand how a sprayer works and identify why and where leaks can occur if the machine is not well maintained.
  • Select correct nozzles.
  • Follow sprayer maintenance schedules (seals, filters, pumps and nozzles).
  • Know how to repair a sprayer and stock spare parts.
  • Calibrate sprayers to apply recommended rates.

5. Use personal protective clothing and equipment (PPE)

  • Minimum requirement for any pesticide related activity is a long sleeved shirt, a pair of trousers (cotton) and non-absorbent footwear.
  • Wear gloves, hats, masks, eye protection and waterproof aprons where prescribed.
  • If the first 4 rules are obeyed the dependency of PPE to prevent personal exposure is greatly reduced. PPE should be seen as the last line of defence.