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Weed killers, or herbicides, can be potentially dangerous to humans if they are inhaled or ingested. The chemicals that are especially dangerous include pyrethins, carbamates, organophospates and paradichlorobenzenes. They can also be irritating to the eyes and skin.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
They can also have adverse effects on the respiratory and nervous systems. Potentially, weed killer poisonings can be fatal if not treated promptly 1.
Pyrethrin Poisoning Symptoms
Pyrethin poisoning can cause breathing difficulties. Individuals exposed to pyrethrins often begin sneezing and coughing shortly after inhalation. If it gets on the skin, irritation can occur. The skin may become red and inflamed. The skin might itch or be painful. In large amounts pyrethrin poisoning can cause convulsions and lead to coma.
- Pyrethin poisoning can cause breathing difficulties.
- In large amounts pyrethrin poisoning can cause convulsions and lead to coma.
Carbamate or Organophosate Poisoning Symptoms
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Initially, this type of poisoning can cause watery eyes and excess salivation. Breathing difficulties often occur.
Individuals affected by these poisons sometimes experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. In addition, the fingernails and lips can become blue. **The peerson might develop a headache and feel both dizzy and weak.
** They might also experience anxiety, convulsions and possibly slip into a coma. Organophosphate is especially dangerous because it can be easily absorbed through the skin and cause paralysis and death in a short period of time.
- Initially, this type of poisoning can cause watery eyes and excess salivation.
- The peerson might develop a headache and feel both dizzy and weak.
Paradichlorobenzene Poisoning Symptoms
This type of poisoning can also cause breathing problems and coughing. It can cause headaches, weakness and slurred speech. The inside of the mouth might have a burning sensation.
Nausea and abdominal pain can also occur. Vomiting and diarrhea sometimes follow.
- This type of poisoning can also cause breathing problems and coughing.
- Nausea and abdominal pain can also occur.
Possible Lasting Effects
Harmful Effects of Xylene
A severe poisoning can lead to lasting effects that can cause serious problems over time. Some individuals experience recurring skin rashes. Others develop anemia or coagulation disorders.
Severe poisoning can lead to permanent paralysis or brain damage. Poison inhalation can lead to respiratory problems such as emphysema or asthma. Problems such as jaundice can affect the liver and kidney failure might possibly result.
- A severe poisoning can lead to lasting effects that can cause serious problems over time.
- Poison inhalation can lead to respiratory problems such as emphysema or asthma.
Wash the chemical off your face and eyes with water for a minimum of 15 minutes. Call for help if symptoms begin to occur. Either call 9-1-1 or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
If you are taken to the hospital, bring the weed killer container with you 1. Hospital treatment can include medications to address symptoms, IV fluids, skin washing and gastric lavage, which is a procedure used to wash out the interior of the stomach.
- Wash the chemical off your face and eyes with water for a minimum of 15 minutes.
- If you are taken to the hospital, bring the weed killer container with you 1.
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- NIH.gov: Weed Killer Poisoning
- Unversity of Missouri: Weed Killer Poisoning
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- Arendt S, Rajagopal L, Strohbehn C, Stokes N, Meyer J, Mandernach S. Reporting of foodborne illness by U.S. consumers and healthcare professionals. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2013;10(8):3684–3714. Published 2013 Aug 19. doi:10.3390/ijerph10083684
- FDA. Are You Storing Food Safely? U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published June 4, 2016.
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- Smith JK, Burns S, Cunningham S, Freeman J, McLellan A, McWilliam K. The hazards of honey: infantile botulism. BMJ Case Rep. 2010;2010:bcr0520103038. Published 2010 Sep 29. doi:10.1136/bcr.05.2010.3038
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Based in Laurel, Miss., Melody Morgan Hughes covers topics related to education, money and health. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English education from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master of Education from William Carey University and a Master of Education from Nova Southeastern University.