Medical Definition of Paraquat lung

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Paraquat lung: Lung disease caused by the contact herbicide paraquat, which selectively accumulates in the lungs and is highly toxic. The prognosis depends upon the severity of exposure. Paraquat lung is rare because the herbicide must be directly inhaled to cause the disease. Paraquat lung emerged as a health concern in the 1970s, when the US government sprayed paraquat aerially over some illegal marijuana fields. Some of the sprayed plants survived and were sold, causing paraquat lung in purchasers who smoked the product.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2017

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