Paraquat and Pesticides used in Trinidad
The Pesticide Control Board is a statuary body under the Ministry of Agriculture mandated to implement the provisions of the Pesticides Control Act which control the importation, sale, storage, and use of pesticides in Trinidad and Tobago. Since there are no local manufacturers of pesticides in Trinidad, the Board has registered over 700 pesticide formulations for importation and sale in the country. However, only a little more than 20 of these products are sold in the country, most of which contain the same chemicals, namely paraquat.The most used and purchased brands are Gramoxone, Swiper, Fastac, Lannate, and Diazinon.¹ See Table below.
Paraquat FatalitiesOver 90% of paraquat poisoning are cases suicides. In developing countries, paraquat is known as a "suicide agent". ²
In Samoa from 1979-2001, 70% of suicides were of paraquat poisoning.
In southern Trinidad from 1996-1997, 76% of suicides were by paraquat ³.
This is because paraquat is easily available, it is widely used, fairly cheap, and has a low toxic dose of 10mls or 2 teaspoons to be fatal. Ingestion of paraquat damages the lung and kidney.
Emergency first aidIf paraquat is swallowed:
Try to vomit, if you have not already done so. Administer a purgative.4
Due to the product property to bind with clay, mix 150g Fuller’s Earth, Bentonite, or Activated charcoal in 1L water, shake well, drink the solution and vomit into a bag.
Mix Epsom salts or other purgative into water, shake well and drink.
Call the hospital emergency room and go immediately, taking the vomit bag with you.
Syngenta, the leading manufacturer of paraquat, has added three safe-guard agents to avoid accidental ingestion and to deter misuse:
a blue dye,
an alerting agent (a strong and deterring odor),
and an emetic (to induce vomiting).
Pest Control Chemicals T&T
Brand Name Active Ingredient Chem ClassA Activity/Use HazardB Acetellic Pirimiphos-methyl OP acaricides,insecticides 3 Agrinate Methomyl C insecticides; 1b Atila Glyphosate OP herbicides U Banrot Etridiazol/Thiophanate-ethyl Thiozole fungicides U Diazinon Diazinon OP acaricides,bird repellant 2 Diuron Diuron Phenyl urea herbicides,algicides U Fastac alpha-cypemethrin PY acaricides, insecticides 2 Fendona S alpha-cypemethrin PY acarides, insecticides 2 Furore Fenoaaprop-P-ethyl Propionate herbicides U Gramoxone Paraquat BP Herbicides 2 Herbiquat,Chemquat Paraquat BP Herbicides 2 Karmex Diuron Phenyl urea herbicides, algicides U Kocide 101/DF Copper hydroxide CU bactericides,fungicides 3 Lannate Methomyl C insecticides 1b Malathion Malathion OP acaricides,insecticides 1a Parathion
Methyl parathion OP acaricides,insecticides 1a Pestac 5EC Cypemethrin PY acaricides, insecticides 2 Pestban E/5C Chlorpyritos OP acaricides,nematicides,insecticides 2 td> Rizolex Tolclofos OP fungicides U Round Up Glyphosate isopropylamine OP herbicides U Swiper Glyphosate isopropylamine OP herbicides U Vydate Oxamyl C acaricides,nematicides,insecticides 1b
A. OP = organophosphate; C = carbamate; PY = pyrethroid; BP = bipyridilium; CU = copper.
B. Based on WHO LD50 for rat: 1a = extremely hazardous; 1b = highly hazardous; 2 = moderately hazardous; 3 = slightly hazardous; and U = unlikely to present hazard in normal use.
1. Pinto Pereira LM, Boysielal K, Siung-Chang A. Pesticide regulation, utilization, and retailers’ selling practices in Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies: current situation and needed changes. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2007;22(2):83–90.
2. Dinham B. 1996: Active Ingredient fact sheet, Paraquat.
4. Paraquat Information Center - Syngenta Crop Protection AG.