Havering residents warned of weed which can cause ‘severe blistering’

Invasive weed giant hogweed

Dr Peter Fitzsimons said giant hogweed’s sap is 'extremely toxic to the skin in sunlight' - Credit: Property Care Association

A trade body has warned Havering and the UK of the dangers associated with an invasive weed which can damage skin in the sunlight. 

Property Care Association (PCA), which works to control invasive weeds, has issued a warning to Romford residents about giant hogweed.  

It said children and adults have reported injuries after coming into contact with the weed, which can grow up to five meters and produce up to 50,000 seeds.  

These seeds can survive in the soil for “years”, according to PCA, and it has warned people to be vigilant during the summer holidays.  

Technical manager of the PCA’s Invasive Weed Control Group, Dr Peter Fitzsimons, said: “Giant hogweed’s sap is extremely toxic to the skin in sunlight, making it a danger to public health. 

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“Youngsters are more likely to come into contact with the plant during the summertime and the mix of warm weather and rain has provided good conditions for the weed to take hold this year. 

“If anyone comes into contact with any part of the plant, followed by exposure to sunlight, they can sustain severe blistering to the skin and discomfort, and this reaction can recur for many years.” 

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He added that the weed needs to be “controlled and managed professionally”.  

Dr Peter Fitzsimons, technical manager of the PCA’s Invasive Weed Control Group.

Dr Peter Fitzsimons, technical manager of the PCA’s Invasive Weed Control Group. - Credit: Property Care Association

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