Paraquat exposure is a widely used weed killer in the United States; however, it has lately come under criticism after many studies linked Parkinson’s disease to Paraquat exposure. Because of the high toxicity of paraquat and the fact that agricultural workers and residents of rural regions have shown indications of paraquat exposure, there are no doubts regarding the safety of paraquat usage in industrial agriculture.


A person will likely experience discomfort and throat and tongue swelling immediately after consuming a significant dose of paraquat. Upon consumption, gastrointestinal (digestive tract) symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea are the following symptoms of disease (which may become bloody).

Dehydration (the body not having enough fluids), electrolyte imbalances (the body not having enough sodium and potassium), and low blood pressure may all be caused by severe gastrointestinal problems.

The following negative health consequences may manifest after ingesting small to medium doses of paraquat exposure between a few days to a few weeks:

  • Liver failure
  • Lung scarring
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure

The following signs and symptoms are typically brought on by ingesting large amounts of paraquat exposure within a few hours to a few days:

  • chronic kidney failure
  • Confusion
  • Injury to the heart
  • Liver failure
  • Coma
  • rapid heartbeat

Lungs with scars (evolves more quickly than when small to medium amounts have been ingested)

  • Muscle tremor
  • Respiratory edema (fluid in the lungs)
  • Failure of the respiratory system, which might result in death
  • Seizures

These symptoms and indicators do not prove that a person has been exposed to paraquat.


It is highly recommended that test kits for paraquat exposure be kept on hand at all establishments. Unintentional exposure to paraquat is frequent, although substantial doses are uncommon. Negative urine dithionite tests indicate that lower-risk exposures do not need additional medical attention. This test’s availability may save needless transfers.

  • Urine should be collected preferably 4-6 hours after suspected paraquat exposure.
  • Shake gently after adding 2g of sodium bicarbonate (Sachet A) and 10 mL of urine to a transparent container. one gram of sodium dithionite (Sachet B). Once the fizz has subsided, shake one more. View the mixture on a white backdrop when it has settled.


At the hospital, paraquat exposure is treated. For oral directions, the first course of treatment is decontaminating the body of the paraquat and limiting further absorption using Fuller’s earth or activated charcoal. For ingestions that manifest within an hour, nasogastric suction can be an option. A ventilator should assist breathing, as should intravenous fluids (fluids given via a needle placed straight into a vein), drugs to aid breathing and increase low blood pressure, and maybe dialysis for renal failure. It is best to avoid administering too much oxygen since it might make paraquat poisoning worse. There is no known treatment for paraquat toxicity.

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