Paraquat Label Changes, Training Requirements

By Michael Helms, extension support specialist, Pesticide Management Education Program (PMEP), Cornell University

Users of herbicides containing paraquat—the active ingredient in Gramoxone® and Firestorm® herbicides—need to be aware of recent label changes and new training requirements.

These changes are the result of EPA’s 2016 paraquat human-health risk-mitigation strategy.

The newest paraquat labels

  • limit use to certified applicators only;
  • require certified applicators who use paraquat to successfully complete specialized training every three years;
  • require the use of a closed transfer system to dispense concentrate from non-bulk (less than 120-gallon) containers (note: it is estimated this requirement will become fully effective in the fall of 2020);
  • prohibit jar testing.

Phased Implementation, Grandfathered Approvals

The new label requirements were implemented in two phases over the past few years. Because multiple labels now exist, EPA is allowing paraquat products with previously approved labels to be used according to label directions until their supplies have been used up.

This means applicators must be sure to read and follow the label directions on the container of the product they are using, including any use limitations and training requirements. Applicators must also make sure the product and label on the product are approved for use in their state.

Training Guidelines

Applicators using paraquat products with a label requiring paraquat-specific training must successfully complete the training before the first use of the product. The training covers paraquat toxicity, the new label requirements and restrictions, and the results of paraquat misuse.

This training is valid for three years and then must be retaken.

Product labels requiring the training will list a website where you can find online training. In-person training for those who cannot use online training may be available through distributors or other organizations.

More information on paraquat training can be found online from the EPA at

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