The Office of Indiana State Chemist reports that an unlicensed person in the Rockport area sold non-labeled water or milk jugs containing what he initially told a state investigator may be an unidentified weed killer containing Paraquat.
Paraquat is a federally restricted-use pesticide. When ingested, it can be life-threatening.
A toxic dose can be as little as 10-15 milliliters (less than ½ ounce).
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention describes Paraquat as a weed or grass killer that is actually classified for restricted use. Officials say it is so dangerous, that even less than a half an ounce of it can be potentially deadly.
David Scott with the Office of Indiana State Chemist say a field agent found a flier advertising for weed killer posted at a local store. Investigators found the unidentified person, who told them it was being sold out of a vehicle. The material was confiscated and tested. Scott says Paraquat is federally restricted, and if mishandled, can lead to serious illnesses.
“It depends on the route of exposure, whether it’d be through the skin or whether you ingest it,” Scott says. “Also, for example, if it were in a mist and you are breathing it in, it can cause bleeding of your lungs.”
Clint hardy, agent for the University of Kentucky’s Extension Office in Daviess County, says the weed killer is used by farmers to kill off older vegetation to make room for new plants.
“Farmers use it primarily in conditions prior to planting where they use it as a herbicide to kill down existing vegetation before they plant crop in to a field,” Hardy says.
Hardy says people can only buy it through licensed sellers, and is stored in containers made of stronger plastics with warning labels. Scott says no charges have been filed against anyone at this time.
If you have purchased or received this non-labeled pesticide, avoid all use and all personal human contact immediately.
For safe handling and legal, no-cost disposal guidance, you can call the Indiana State Chemist at 800-893-6637 or Rockport Police at 812-649-6049.