Plant fertilizer poisoning

Plant fertilizer poisoning can trigger a variety of undesirable symptoms. Direct exposure, accidental ingestion or inhalation of plant fertilizer can be hazardous. It is vital to be careful when handling and storing plant fertilizer. Take note that most cases of accidental poisoning involve children below 5 years of age.

The nitrates present in plant fertilizer is the cause for poisoning. Nitrates are a form of nitrogen that are easily absorbed by plants. It is vital for plant growth but can be dangerous if present in large amounts in humans. Once nitrates are inside the body, they lower the capability of the red blood cells to transport and deliver oxygen.

What are the signs?

An individual might end up with these symptoms after direct contact with plant fertilizer such as:

  • Itchy skin
  • Skin redness
    Plant fertilizer poisoning

    In case it entered the eyes or on the skin, it must be flushed thoroughly with water for at least 15 minutes.

  • Burning sensation on the skin
  • Burning of the eyes, nose or throat

If plant fertilizer has been ingested, it can trigger the following symptoms:

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Certain parts of the body turn bluish due to lack of oxygen
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stomach pain

Management of plant fertilizer poisoning

If an individual is suspected of plant fertilizer poisoning, call the poison control right away.

If the plant fertilizer was inhaled, move the individual to an area with fresh air right away.

In case it entered the eyes or on the skin, it must be flushed thoroughly with water for at least 15 minutes.

If plant fertilizer was ingested, do not attempt to induce vomiting unless instructed by the poison control to do so. The individual can be provided with milk or water to drink, unless instructed not to do so. Do not allow the individual to drink anything if vomiting since this can lead to choking.

Once the individual is taken to a healthcare facility, the seriousness of the poisoning is tested. The doctor will perform tests to check for methemoglobinemia. If this condition is present, the nitrate binds to hemoglobin in the blood. As a result, the blood could not adequately circulate oxygen which results to a bluish tinge in the oxygen-deprived areas.

If needed, the doctor will provide medications, breathing support or intravenous fluids as part of treatment.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on plant fertilizer poisoning is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the indications and how it is treated, register for a first aid and CPR course with Edmonton First Aid.


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