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Emerg Med Australas. 2004 Jun;16(3):235-9.

Glyphosate herbicide formulation: a potentially lethal ingestion.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Geelong Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.


Glyphosate surfactant herbicide (GlySH) toxicity is an uncommon poisoning. We report two fatalities involving suicidal ingestion of this herbicide. Both deaths occurred despite early recognition of the serious nature of the poisoning and aggressive treatment. The deaths in this series are analysed in the context of a review of existing literature. Although traditionally regarded as minimally toxic, many deaths have been reported following suicidal ingestion. Severe GlySH toxicity may be refractory even to the most intensive supportive care. The triad of pulmonary oedema, metabolic acidosis and hyperkalaemia portends poor outcome. While containing a carbon phosphorus moiety, GlySH does not exhibit organophosphate toxicity. A clinical guide to assessing severity of GlySH toxicity is proposed and treatment modalities discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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