1663a Pesticide poisonings are not restricted to farmers and vector spray-men!

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Abstract

Acute pesticide poisonings are not restricted to professional users such as farmers and vector spray-men. The serious poisonings most often seen in health facilities are due to self-harm or accidental. Even consumers are in danger of suffering from both acute and chronic poisonings. In this presentation we focus on our findings from cross-sectional studies from Bolivia, Nepal and Uganda on pesticide poisonings due to self-harm, accidents and consumers eating pesticide residues in vegetables. Our findings shows that self-harm with pesticides are quite common and they are the poisonings most often seen in the hospitals. This is probably due to the easy access of very toxic pesticides sold in the streets and shops in most low-income countries. Female self-harm is more often seen among teen-agers, whereas males dominate the older age classes. Among children accidental poisonings predominates especially among boys. Consumers are in danger of chronic poisonings and diseases due to the consumption of pesticide residues in vegetables. Residue levels in tomato samples and other vegetables from Bolivia and Uganda are often shown to exceed the recommended maximum residue levels. This seems to be due to farmers spraying close to harvest or in some cases even after harvest to make the vegetables maintain themselves fresh for a longer period. In Uganda some consumers even says they prefer vegetables with pesticide stains on them, because then they think they are grown with modern agricultural methods and thus are healthier for consumers. To minimise pesticide exposure among professional pesticide users, consumers and others, awareness rising, training of users and banning of pesticides belonging to the WHO toxic class I and some class II is recommended. The access to pesticides in stores and at home should be restricted by only authorised selling pesticides and by locking up pesticides out of reach for children and others. These interventions has proven effective but are only implemented to a limited degree.

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