What You Need to Know About Paraquat Poisoning

Paraquat is a toxic chemical that is widely used as an herbicide (plant killer), primarily for weed and grass control.
What You Need to Know About Paraquat Poisoning
Paraquat (dipyridylium) is a highly toxic weed killer (herbicide). Image/Shutterstock

About Paraquat Poisoning

Paraquat is a form of chemical herbicide also known as a weed killer. Paraquat, used all over the world under its brand name, Gramoxone, is usually used to control weed and grass growth. It is one of the most common herbicides in the world.

It can be fatal when it is ingested or inhaled, which is why it’s imperative to wear protective equipment when using it. Moreover, to use it, you need a license.

It’s the leading cause of fatal poisonings in many parts of Asia, South and Central Americas, and the Pacific Islands. In fact, over 70% of paraquat poisonings have resulted in death.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know about paraquat poisoning.

What causes paraquat poisoning?

Paraquat poisoning usually occurs after swallowing or inhaling the chemical herbicide. However, swallowing paraquat after you consume contaminated food or drink causes the most deaths. You may also be susceptible if you are frequently around the chemical.

In the past, even marijuana contained paraquat when law enforcement used it to kill illicit growing operations. This may have led to severe lung damage and death.

You may also become poisoned after skin exposure to paraquat, usually after prolonged contact.

You may notice it is more severe if you make contact near a rash, sore, or cut.

Where its use is unregulated, paraquat poisoning is also a leading means of suicide. However, newfound regulations may reduce the number of suicides with paraquat.

What are the symptoms of paraquat poisoning?

Paraquat poisoning is a quick process. Symptoms develop almost immediately. After ingesting/inhaling paraquat, you will likely notice pain in your mouth and throat. You may also experience swelling.

The first symptoms are:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea (possibly containing blood)

The gastrointestinal symptoms can be very severe. Both dehydration and low blood pressure can result. Nosebleeds and difficulty breathing are also common. Even a small amount of paraquat can result in fatal poisoning. That means it is better to be safe than sorry.

If you happen to ingest/inhale paraquat, you will experience severe symptoms. They include:

  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Fast heart rate
  • Muscle weakness
  • Respiratory failure
  • Difficulty breeding

Many times, after inhaling or ingesting large amounts, poisoning can cause:

What to do if you experience paraquat poisoning

If you suspect poisoning, do not investigate. Instead, head to the hospital and seek medical attention immediately. Doctors may administer oral charcoal to bind the paraquat. Medical staff may remove your clothing, wash you, and dispose of your clothes to ensure no one else gets poisoned.

You may want to consider hiring a Paraquat lawsuit lawyer if you sustained significant exposure to paraquat. One law firm, Sibley Dolman Gipe, based in Florida with offices also located in Boston, New York, and Texas, has been at the forefront of the paraquat lawsuits since they began. Principal attorney Matt Dolman says that you need to ensure the lawyer you choose has the experience to properly build your case. These complex cases require substantial resources to put together.

If you need additional advice or have any questions, we advise you to call Sibley Dolman Gipe for a case evaluation.

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Dr. Keith Kantor

Dr. Kantor has been an advocate of natural food and healthy living for 30 years. He is also on the Board of Directors for NAMI.org in G

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