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Acute human lethal toxicity of agricultural pesticides: a prospective cohort study

Dawson, Andrew H., Eddleston, Michael, Senarathna, Lalith, Mohamed, Fahim, Gawarammana, Indika, Bowe, Steven J., Manuweera, Gamini and Buckley, Nicholas A. 2010, Acute human lethal toxicity of agricultural pesticides: a prospective cohort study, PLoS medicine, vol. 7, no. 10, Article Number : e1000357, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000357.

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Title Acute human lethal toxicity of agricultural pesticides: a prospective cohort study
Author(s) Dawson, Andrew H.
Eddleston, Michael
Senarathna, Lalith
Mohamed, Fahim
Gawarammana, Indika
Bowe, Steven J.ORCID iD for Bowe, Steven J. orcid.org/0000-0003-3813-842X
Manuweera, Gamini
Buckley, Nicholas A.
Journal name PLoS medicine
Volume number 7
Issue number 10
Season Article Number : e1000357
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2010-10
ISSN 1549-1676
Summary BACKGROUND: agricultural pesticide poisoning is a major public health problem in the developing world, killing at least 250,000-370,000 people each year. Targeted pesticide restrictions in Sri Lanka over the last 20 years have reduced pesticide deaths by 50% without decreasing agricultural output. However, regulatory decisions have thus far not been based on the human toxicity of formulated agricultural pesticides but on the surrogate of rat toxicity using pure unformulated pesticides. We aimed to determine the relative human toxicity of formulated agricultural pesticides to improve the effectiveness of regulatory policy. METHODS AND FINDINGS: we examined the case fatality of different agricultural pesticides in a prospective cohort of patients presenting with pesticide self-poisoning to two clinical trial centers from April 2002 to November 2008. Identification of the pesticide ingested was based on history or positive identification of the container. A single pesticide was ingested by 9,302 patients. A specific pesticide was identified in 7,461 patients; 1,841 ingested an unknown pesticide. In a subset of 808 patients, the history of ingestion was confirmed by laboratory analysis in 95% of patients. There was a large variation in case fatality between pesticides-from 0% to 42%. This marked variation in lethality was observed for compounds within the same chemical and/or WHO toxicity classification of pesticides and for those used for similar agricultural indications. CONCLUSION: the human data provided toxicity rankings for some pesticides that contrasted strongly with the WHO toxicity classification based on rat toxicity. Basing regulation on human toxicity will make pesticide poisoning less hazardous, preventing hundreds of thousands of deaths globally without compromising agricultural needs. Ongoing monitoring of patterns of use and clinical toxicity for new pesticides is needed to identify highly toxic pesticides in a timely manner.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000357
Field of Research 110399 Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920405 Environmental Health
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2010, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30074321

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.