Regulation and voluntary standards

© Florian Kopp/Keystone
There are various regulatory frameworks (with differing degrees of strictness) that govern the use of paraquat, and several voluntary corporate standards, international agreements and codes are also in place.

Statutory regulation

Bans on paraquat

Several countries have denied, withdrawn, suspended or refused to renew the authorisation to sell paraquat. Most of these countries base such measures on the toxicological properties of paraquat (acutely toxic, delayed effects and lack of an antidote in case of poisoning) and the high risk for exposed workers.

The map below shows these countries in red.

Restrictions on the use of paraquat

In other countries, statutory regulations are in place to restrict the methods of using paraquat for the reasons stated above. The map below shows countries which have restricted the type of use in yellow.

Voluntary corporate commitment (Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR)

Numerous organisations have developed labels and certificates to encourage greater sustainability in agriculture. These voluntary standards often contain specific requirements for pesticides which, in most cases, amount to a ban on the use of paraquat. In recent years, various producers have been certified for one of the labels, as our list shows:

International regulations and recommendations

International recommendations and agreements are in place regarding the marketing and use of pesticides.


The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has issued a Code of Conduct containing very comprehensive recommendations on the marketing, sale and use of pesticides in agriculture. These recommendations are intended to provide a basis for voluntary standards regarding protection for users, especially in countries with inadequate legal provisions or controls, and they should be adopted in particular by manufacturers of agricultural products, pesticide traders and dealers, and by the pesticide industry. According to the Code, highly toxic pesticides such as paraquat should not be sold to countries where their safe use is not realistic. Specific recommendations on the use of paraquat and other pesticides are also issued by the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS)  of the World Health Organization (WHO).


The Rotterdam Convention regulates the exchange of information prior to international trading in selected toxic chemicals. This gives governments the option of refusing to import such products where appropriate. Attempts to include paraquat in the Convention failed (for the time being) in 2013 due to resistance from India and Guatemala.