Paraquat dichloride is a chloride salt of paraquat and is known as 1, 1- dimethyl-4, 4’-bipyridinium. Paraquat dichloride is organic in nature and is classified as a viologen, which is a family of redox - active heterocyclic’s of similar structures. The name of the organic compound is derived from its para position of quaternary nitrogen. Paraquat dichloride, when ingested by humans or animals is very harmful in nature and is connected to the development of the Parkinson’s disease.
The key application of paraquat dichloride is its use as an herbicide. The compound is a non-selective and quick acting herbicide and kills plant tissues directly on contact. The main characteristics that distinguish paraquat dichloride from other herbicides are that the compound kills various broad-leafed weeds and grasses. In addition, the compound also aids in eradicating established perennial weed. Moreover, paraquat dichloride is extremely fast acting and helps in getting rid of unnecessary weeds within seconds of application. Additionally, the organic compound is partially inactivated when it encounters soil. Due to these properties, paraquat dichloride is used extensively in the growth of no- till farming. In the recent present, the compound has been labeled as ‘restricted use’ due to its harmful properties.
Paraquat dichloride’s’ herbicidal properties are what have been driving its market. The demand for herbicides has increased in order to get rid of unwanted plants and weeds in forest areas, for reforestation, to clear weeds, which hamper the cultivation and the growth of crops among others. Due to its persistent nature it is very difficult to get rid of the chemical and thus it seeps into ground water and contaminate it, thus reducing the quality of drinking water. It is extremely phototoxic and land that has been treated with paraquat dichloride has caused astonishingly huge damage to crops, particularly tobacco and potatoes. Due to these factors, both the Ecological Effects Branch (EEB) and the Environmental Fate and Ground Water Branch of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended that the use of this chemical be stopped. The EPA did not comply with these recommendations after they evaluated the health and the safety testing that was submitted for paraquat dichloride as they found that it met the current standards. Taking all this into consideration the market demand for paraquat dichloride is still high and this trend will continue for the next few years after which its demand may decrease owing to its harmful effects on plants, which will outweigh its good effects.
The major market segments for Paraquat dichloride include North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Rest of the World (RoW).The chemical is being used in the U.S. since 1963. In 1995, the EPA reregistered it as a restricted use product. Pestanal is being marketed in the U.S. on a large scale. Due to its numerous grasslands, agricultural and irrigation practices, Asia Pacific also has a large market for this product especially in emerging countries like India and China. The demand for this paraquat, dichloride is anticipated to increase largely in RoW due to the growing agricultural activities in countries like Brazil and Uruguay. However, since 2007 the European Union has banned the use of paraquat dichloride in certain countries. Hence, the demand for the compound is Europe not expected to increase by a large scale over the forecast period. One of the key companies manufacturing paraquat dichloride is Dow AgroSciences Ltd.
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