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.
Over 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 aid
If 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
A. OP = organophosphate; C = carbamate; PY = pyrethroid; BP = bipyridilium; CU =
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
1. Pinto Pereira LM, Boysielal K, Siung-Chang A. Pesticide regulation, utilization, and
practices in Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies: current situation and needed changes. Rev
Salud Publica. 2007;22(2):83–90.
2. Dinham B. 1996: Active Ingredient fact sheet, Paraquat.
4. Paraquat Information Center - Syngenta Crop Protection AG.