Pesticide poisoning in the developing world--a minimum pesticides list

Michael Eddleston, Lakshman Karalliedde, Nick Buckley, Ravindra Fernando, Gerard Hutchinson, Geoff Isbister, Flemming Konradsen, Douglas Murray, Juan Carlos Piola, Nimal Senanayake, Rezvi Sheriff, Surjit Singh, S B Siwach, Lidwien Smit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In parts of the developing world, pesticide poisoning causes more deaths than infectious diseases. Use of pesticides is poorly regulated and often dangerous; their easy availability also makes them a popular method of self-harm. In 1985, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) produced a voluntary code of conduct for the pesticide industry in an attempt to limit the harmful effects of pesticides. Unfortunately, a lack of adequate government resources in the developing world makes this code ineffective, and thousands of deaths continue today. WHO has recommended that access to highly toxic pesticides be restricted--where this has been done, suicide rates have fallen. Since an Essential Drugs List was established in 1977, use of a few essential drugs has rationalised drug use in many regions. An analogous Minimum Pesticides List would identify a restricted number of less dangerous pesticides to do specific tasks within an integrated pest management system. Use of safer pesticides should result in fewer deaths, just as the change from barbiturates to benzodiazepines has reduced the number of deaths from pharmaceutical self-poisoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-7
Number of pages5
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number9340
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2002

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Cause of Death
  • Developing Countries
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases
  • Pesticides
  • Poisoning
  • Risk
  • Suicide


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