Pesticide Poisoning

Pesticides are widely used in agriculture and hence have an impact on our diet and nutrtion. One and half million tonnes of pesticide are produced a year at a cost of 30 billion US dollars. The use of pesticides has resulted in increased crop yields, opening up of new agricultural grounds and reducion in vecto-transmitted disease. But pesticide resistance is increasing.
Most pesticides are toxic to human beings. In parts of the developing world pesticide poisoning kills more people than infections. Much of these by suicide, over 750,000 world wide, over 500,000 from self harm in Southeast Asia, especially in young women.
WHO estimated that there are three million pesticide poisoning cases each year.
Clearly less poisonous pesticides used with greater care and availability are needed.
Eddleston et al Lancet 2002, 1163-67, vol 360

Martin Eastwood
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