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Giant hogweed raises concerns

Monday, July 26, 2010

Unlike dandelions, giant hogweed can lead to burns or blindness.
Unlike dandelions, giant hogweed can lead to burns or blindness.

While out in the field using farm equipment, workers may run into a number of dangerous plants, including giant hogweed.

Recently, Canada's Eastern Ontario Health Unit reported that the plant, which is originally from Asia, has been confirmed in a number of areas in that province. The danger it offers is its sap, which can lead to rashes or even blindness.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer for health for the department, is encouraging all residents in the province to be careful.

"But I would like outdoor workers, including road maintenance crews cutting roadside ditches, lawn and garden workers, as well as outdoor recreationalists to be extra careful," Roumeliotis said.

The plant can grow to between 15 and 20 feet in height and its leaves can be as much as 5 feet wide. Those who come into contact with the weed are advised to stay out of the sun and wash afflicted areas right away. Furthermore, medical treatment should be sought.

According to the Department of Agriculture, giant hogweed was introduced into the U.S. in 1917. The plant has been found in states such as Massachusetts and Washington.ADNFCR-2034-ID-19907515-ADNFCR

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