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Farmer is killed by splash of herbicide

UPDATE 9PM: A man has died in hospital a day after he accidentally swallowed a toxic herbicide in a tragic farm accident.

The 55-year-old was rushed to hospital in Brisbane after the weed killer sprayed in his mouth yesterday morning.

Police said the man was filling a pressure back-pack pump spray with Paraquat, a highly poisonous chemical, when the back-pack unit cracked and the chemical sprayed over him and in his face.

The man was spraying weeds on his property on Forest Hill Fernvale Rd at Lynford, about 45km north-west of Ipswich, when the accident happened about 9.30am.

Police said the man went across the road to seek help from a neighbour, 49, who also got some of the chemical on him.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service officers were called in to decontaminate both men and the area where the chemical spilled. 

Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics treated the 55-year-old and took him to Princess Alexandra Hospital where his condition was listed as stable condition yesterday.

Laidley police sergeant Jim McDonald said Howard Reck, 55, died in the hospital yesterday morning. Sgt McDonald, who knew Mr Reck, went to his property after the accident.

"His condition deteriorated overnight and the hospital rang me at midday," Sgt McDonald said.

He said a pharmacologist and a toxicologist at the hospital had given Mr Reck the dreadful prognosis.

"That's even with the small amount he ingested, which shows how toxic the stuff must be," he said. "Based on what we know it's an absolute tragedy."

Sgt McDonald said Mr Reck was married and his family was with him the whole time he was in hospital.

He said the Reck family was a big family in the Lockyer Valley with a large extended family.

Paraquat is widely used on Australian farms to control grasses and broadleaf weeds, but it is banned in 32 countries.

It is particularly dangerous if swallowed because there is no specific antidote to its effects.

Australia's biggest supplier of Paraquat says there is no reason for it to be banned despite claims it's linked to Parkinson's Disease.

Parkinson's Australia says there's growing evidence about its harmful effects.

Topics:  hatton vale, herbicides, lockyer valley, parkinson's disease, poisoned




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