The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has placed a ban on a popular herbicide, Paraquat, majorly used by farmers across the country to control weeds in their farms and homes.
The NAFDAC, in a statement signed by its Director General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, said that the ban on the herbicide became imperative because it was highly toxic to humans and the environment.
The agency explained that “Paraquat is a fast-acting herbicide on a wide range of annual grasses and broad-leaved weeds in crops. It is highly toxic to humans and the environment and enters the body mainly by swallowing, inhaling, or through damaged skin.
“Exposure to Paraquat may lead to burns in the mouth, acute respiratory distress, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, and fever. Muscle pain, lethargy, shortness of breath, acute poisoning, including the death of the fetus or chronic effects that can persist for a lifetime, and rapid heartbeat, among others.
“Paraquat is a widely used herbicide in several parts of the world. It is banned due to its potential to contaminate water sources and its persistence in soil for a long period of time as a result of misuse and abuse.
“Paraquat is said to be highly toxic to humans and the environment. It is the mandate of the agency to ensure safe and responsible use of agrochemicals by assuring only quality, effective, and safe agrochemicals are registered by the agency. This has led to the prohibition of the use of Paraquat in Nigeria.”