What are the Most Common Symptoms of Pesticide Poisoning?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2018
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Pesticides are types of chemicals that are used to kill pests such as insects or rodents. Contact with these chemicals can sometimes lead to a medical condition known as pesticide poisoning. Symptoms of pesticide poisoning may develop immediately upon coming into contact with the toxins, or in some cases, symptoms may not develop until several years following exposure. Common symptoms of pesticide poisoning include nausea, vomiting, or difficulty breathing. In the more extreme cases, organ damage or failure may occur, leading to potentially life-threatening complications.

Mild to moderate pesticide poisoning may lead to a runny nose, watery eyes, and an increased production of saliva or sweat. Some people may develop abdominal pain, nausea, or diarrhea. Dizziness or a feeling of extreme fatigue or weakness may also be present. Regardless of how mild or severe the symptoms appear to be, any symptoms that begin after coming into contact with pesticides should be reported to a doctor right away

Moderate to severe pesticide poisoning may lead to muscle twitches, seizures, or a loss of consciousness. Breathing may become shallow or even stop completely. These symptoms should be considered a medical emergency, and the patient should report to the nearest hospital immediately. If not treated promptly, pesticide poisoning may become fatal.


In some cases, the symptoms of pesticide poisoning may be delayed, not showing up for months or years following exposure to the chemicals. Tumors, which may or may not be cancerous, are one example of this kind of delayed response. Changes in chromosomes or genes may even occur as a result of pesticide exposure. These effects may not become evident until the affected person begins to have children.

Pesticide poisoning may lead to infertility in both men and women who have been exposed to toxic chemicals. If fertility is not compromised, the toxins may lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. When a pregnancy is completed to term, there are risks of possible birth defects.

Several organ systems can be affected as a result of pesticide poisoning. Blood-related problems may include anemia or reduced blood-clotting abilities. Neurological problems may include tremors, paralysis, or varying degrees of permanent brain damage. Ongoing breathing problems or persistent skin problems may be an issue for some patients. Liver or kidney disorders may develop, sometimes leading to complete organ failure, which may require an organ transplant in order to preserve the life of the patient.



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