King County officials warning about spread of deadly poison hemlock

KING COUNTY, Wash. — King County is issuing a warning about the spread of the deadly toxic weed, poison hemlock.

The county says it found the plant at more than 560 sites such as parks, schools and community gardens.

It can sicken and kill people and animals. Fatal poisoning is usually the result of accidentally eating -- or breathing in the plant -- while mowing or burning it, which can lead to respiratory failure.

County officials say toxins in the plant cause the respiratory system to freeze and lead to suffocation.

In addition, the plant can also impact natural areas because by growing faster, and sometimes earlier, than native plants.

If you find it on your property, you can remove it by digging it up, putting it in a plastic trash bag, and depositing the bag into your regular trash -- not your yard waste.

Contact with skin can cause a rash, so wearing gloves and protective clothing is recommended while removing the plant.

You can also use weed killer to get rid of poison hemlock.

For more information on how to identify and remove the plant, or what to do if you spot it on property that is not yours, follow this link.

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