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Emerg Med J. 2007 November; 24(11): 777.
PMCID: PMC2658324

A case of paraquat burns following an industrial accident

Paraquat is a highly toxic chemical widely used as a herbicide. We present the case of a 27‐year‐old man admitted to hospital with suspected paraquat poisoning after falling in a toxic tank containing the solution at work. He lay in the solution for around a minute until his colleagues came to his aid. He was admitted under the care of the physicians via the emergency department with suspected paraquat poisoning. It was not until 4 days later, after this had been excluded, that the chemical burns he had sustained were noticed. He had superficial partial thickness burns to his lower back and gluteal region amounting to 7% total body surface area. These eventually healed with conservative management.

Fatalities have been reported from cutaneous exposure alone to paraquat.1 Thorough inspection for evidence of skin exposure and prompt irrigation is therefore important both to reduce the severity of burns and to minimise transdermal absorption.

figure em41962.f1
Figure 1 Superficial chemical burns to buttocks and back from exposure to paraquat solution. Informed written consent was obtained for the publication of this figure.


Competing interests: none declared

Informed written consent was obtained for the publication of fig 11.


1. Wolfhart D J. Fatal paraquat poisonings after skin absorption. Med J Australia 1982. 1512–513.513 [PubMed]

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