State DEC crews battle plant causing burns and blindness

June 28, 2018 06:24 PM

State DEC crews are out in full force battling against a plant that can cause burns and blindness.

It's called giant hogweed.


The sap inside the towering plant can cause burns on your skin if it is exposed to the sun. 

Crews use herbicide to kill the plant without killing pollinators like bees and butterflies. 

While Livingston, Monroe, and Wayne Counties have some of the highest number of sites in the state, that number continues to decline dramatically. 

Last year, 40 percent of the treated sites had no new plants on them.

"If you get it on you, you can prevent having the burns as long as you realize whats happening and you go wash off with cool water," stated Dr. Tracey Davidoff, Rochester Regional Health. "To prevent things further, they recommend you don't get exposed to sunlight within 48 hours." 

It takes three years with no new growth for a site to be considered eradicated. 


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