Beauty & the Burn

VanDuyne, Glorio
June 2008
New York State Conservationist;Jun2008, Vol. 62 Issue 6, p24
The article focuses on wild parsnip or giant hogweed, plants that can cause second-degree burn. Wild parsnip, contain chemicals called furanocoumarins, which, when combined with sunlight on the skin cause phytophotodermatitis (a toxic skin reaction). The chemicals prevent the skin from protecting itself from ultraviolet rays. The result is basically a sunburn. The sap from giant hogweed combines with sunlight and perspiration to cause phytophotodermatitis. Scarring can be permanent and contact with eyes can cause blindness.


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