Why Paraquat Tongue May Be Dangerous

Paraquat dichloride, or Paraquat as it is commonly known, is a herbicide widely used in the farming industry. Exposure to this toxic chemical can result in a condition known as Paraquat tongue.

When Paraquat is accidentally swallowed, the tongue is one of the first parts of the body to become affected. Even limited exposure to Paraquat can affect an individual’s overall health and have a negative impact on their quality of life. 

The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have decades of experience handling serious personal injury cases. We have obtained over $250 million in settlements for our clients’ injury cases

Call our product liability attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation related to pursuing a Paraquat lawsuit.

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What Is Paraquat?

Paraquat is a herbicide that is typically available in liquid form. It can also come in powder form. 

In the United States, Paraquat is produced with a blue dye and strong odor to prevent accidental ingestion. Paraquat is also classified as “restricted use,” and only licensed applicators can buy and use the product

It is used to kill weeds and control grass and dry crops before harvesting in commercial farming. Many agricultural workers and people in rural areas are also at risk of exposure to Paraquat.

How Paraquat Exposure Can Occur

Negligence on a manufacturer or commercial business can result in someone suffering from Paraquat poisoning. Residential areas and businesses near a farm that uses Paraquat may also be at risk of exposure. 

It is illegal to sell Paraquat to homeowners in the United States or use it in non-commercial settings. The restrictions on the production and sale of Paraquat in the US have prevented more Paraquat poisonings from happening. 

Over 30 countries have a Paraquat ban due to the effects of Paraquat poisonings, but it is still used in some parts of the world. Paraquat is a commonly used agent in deliberate self-poisoning incidents in developing countries. 

Paraquat Ingestion

Oral ingestion of Paraquat is likely to occur when the herbicide is mistaken for a drink. There are recorded cases of intentional consumption of the herbicide diluted in liquid.

The natural form of Paraquat can be undetectable in contaminated food or water. If a Paraquat product does not contain blue dye and odor, it will be odorless and tasteless.

Ingestion of Paraquat will cause mitochondrial complex peroxidation of the lipid cell membrane and free oxygen radicals, leading to apoptosis or cell death. These effects will result in organ damage. 

Pakinson's after paraquat exposure

Inhalation of Paraquat and Lung Toxicity

Paraquat can be inhaled if you sniff or breathe near a concentrate container of the herbicide. It can also be inhaled if you are unprotected, near an area sprayed with the Paraquat. 

If Paraquat is inhaled, it can cause direct damage to the lungs. Paraquat inhalation is dangerous because there are many surface areas in the lungs, and the lung tissue is delicate.

Skin Exposure

Skin exposure can occur if you come into contact with Paraquat. Accidentally touching the chemical or getting it on your skin is dangerous. The prolonged exposure of Paraquat to the skin can lead to adverse health effects.

You should remove any contaminated clothing and wash the area well with soap and water. Contact emergency medical services for assistance with any type of Paraquat exposure. 

Symptons of paraquat tongue

Symptoms of Paraquat Tongue

Paraquat tongue will occur if oral ingestion of the herbicide takes place. A person will usually feel a burning sensation and pain immediately.

Some symptoms that an individual with Paraquat tongue may experience are:

  • Severe pain
  • Redness of the tongue
  • Swelling of the tongue and mouth
  • Lesions and deep fissures
  • Burning sensation
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Oral cavity necrosis (tissue death in the mouth)

Paraquat tongue is usually the first visible sign that you have ingested the herbicide. Other symptoms can occur in the body, signaling more damage.  

There are many cases of Paraquat ingestion that result in death. It is rare for people who have ingested Paraquat to survive. 

Those who survive Paraquat’s ingestion will likely suffer from permanent organ damage. 

Associated Symptoms of Paraquat Tongue

After the initial symptoms of Paraquat Tongue take place, there are other severe side effects that you will likely experience. The gastrointestinal tract is severely affected after ingestion because Paraquat will travel through these organs.

The gastrointestinal tract comprises the esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum, and anus. The following symptoms will signal that these organs are experiencing damage from the Paraquat.

The symptoms that can occur after Paraquat enters the digestive tract are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in stool
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing

Paraquat poisoning can also lead to more symptoms after the initial ones described above. Significant lung changes, hepatic injuries (liver), and acute renal injuries (kidneys) may develop.

Some of the toxic effects you may experience are:

  • Seizures 
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Confusion 
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (lung scarring)
  • Pulmonary toxicity (lung toxicity)
  • Heart failure
  • Elevated urinary Paraquat levels
  • Kidney failure (acute renal failure)
  • Hepatic failure (liver failure)
  • Coma

Paraquat poisoning is likely to impact a person for the rest of their lives. They will need to receive consistent treatment to address the ongoing symptoms and effects of Paraquat.

Treatment ffor Paraquat Poisoning

Treatment for Paraquat Poisoning

You should seek medical attention immediately after the first sign of exposure to Paraquat. Receiving emergency medical treatment quickly can prevent further damage to the body.

Patients presenting to the emergency room for Paraquat poisoning will undergo treatment to remove the Paraquat. One treatment that may be performed is oral administration of activated coal or Fuller’s earth to absorb the herbicide.

Another treatment that may be performed is gastric decontamination. This procedure is used to empty the stomach of Paraquat and other contents.

A chest radiograph or chest X-ray may detect lung toxicity or fluid buildup. Medical professionals will also be able to provide supportive care measures to help relieve the symptoms. 

Long-term medical management of Paraquat ingestion will be necessary to monitor the organs and aid in recovery.

Medical Management of Paraquat Ingestion  

Clinical management of Paraquat tongue and other associated illnesses may be recommended. 

Clinical features and treatment may include fluid and electrolyte balance, hemodialysis (kidney dialysis), and dexamethasone therapy.  

The use of topical clinical features and treatment can also manage Paraquat tongue. Metronidazole oral gel is prescribed to prevent infection, and 20% benzocaine gel may be prescribed for pain relief.

Paraquat Lawsuit Attorneys

Seek Representation for Paraquat Poisoning

Paraquat exposure can lead to permanent organ damage and even death. The effects can also cause a decline in the overall quality of life. 

If you or a family member has suffered from Paraquat tongue or Paraquat poisoning, you should consult with an experienced attorney. You may be able to recover medical costs and other damages

Our legal team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is ready to answer any questions you may have about your injury claim. We are committed to seeking the compensation you deserve.

Call our office at (888) 424-5757, and we will schedule you to speak with an attorney for a free case review. 

All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship. We are committed to providing you with the best possible representation.