by Vicki Batts, Natural News:
ike other pesticides, paraquat has been the subject of controversy for some time now. In Switzerland, for example, the toxic substance has been banned since 1989. The rest of the European Union has followed the Swiss’ lead, including England — even though there is still a factory there where paraquat is manufactured for export. (RELATED: Follow more news headlines on pesticides at Pesticide.news)
Even China has phased out the use of paraquat. In 2012, the Chinese government announced that the pesticide would no longer be used in order to “safeguard people’s lives.” China is not a nation that is recognized for its environmental protection policies. If they’re concerned about this pesticide, it stands to reason we should be too.
And yet, for some reason, paraquat is still available in the United States — even in spite of the growing body of research that suggests it is an extremely harmful chemical that likely causes Parkinson’s disease.
You’d think that as Europe and China ceased to use paraquat, the US would follow suit. But instead, use of this pesticide has only begun to increase. Last year, some 7 million pounds of paraquat were used on 15 million acres of land. To make matters worse, more weeds are becoming resistant to more popular pesticides like Roundup, and paraquat is being marketed as a substitute.
(Related: Learn more about glyphosate at Glyphosate.news)
The Paraquat Controversy
Paraquat first became heavily scrutinized for its use in suicide attempts; just a single sip of this stuff can be lethal. But now, a wave of research on this contentious product has shown that there are less-immediate effects of exposure to paraquat — like Parkinson’s disease.
The New York Times has even reported that the Environmental Protection Agency made note of paraquat’s toxicity in a recent regulatory filing. The EPA itself said, “There is a large body of epidemiology data on paraquat dichloride and Parkinson’s disease.” The Times writer Danny Hakim writes that the EPA is currently debating on whether or not the pesticide should still be allowed to be sprayed on our country’s farmland. A decision is not expected to be reached until sometime in 2018.
Europe is known for their cautious approach to pesticides; several bans and moratoriums on a number of different products have taken place over the years. While often criticized by industry officials, paraquat shows that caution is truly necessary when dealing with toxic chemicals — even if they supposedly not intended to be toxic to humans.
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