IASP Special Interest Group (SIG) on the Prevention of Intentional Pesticide Poisoning

Co-Chair Professor Hawton
Co-Chair Professor Michael Phillips
Co-Chair Melissa Pearson

Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar
Lakshmi Ratnayeke
Vanda Scott


Intentional ingestion of pesticides is the most common means of suicide globally, accounting for an estimated 250,000 to 375,000 deaths each year. The easy accessibility of pesticides in agricultural communities of low- and middle-income countries and the limited health care services available in these communities results in a very high case-fatality for pesticide ingestion.

Several approaches have been proposed to reduce mortality from pesticide self-poisoning including restricting access to means through regulation; conversion to less toxic pesticides; development of single-use packaging; safe storage of pesticides; agricultural strategies and work with pesticide vendors; improving medical management; and communication and training initiatives. A number of projects are now underway to assess the effectiveness of a range of interventions aimed at reducing pesticide self-poisoning in China, India and Sri Lanka.

There have been a number of initiatives launched in the past few years aiming to reduce the number of deaths from pesticide ingestion including the WHO Special Initiative on Pesticides and Health and the Croplife Safe Use Initiative. The pesticide industry has supported a range of meetings and workshops on this issue in Singapore, Durban, Geneva, Brisbane and Beijing. Prevention of intentional pesticide poisoning is an issue of concern to many members of IASP and attendance at IASP workshops on the issue have been well supported.

For these reasons, IASP has developed a Special interest group with the following aim to prevent pesticide poisoning and promoting the development and use of evidence on restricting access to means, regulation, training, and improved medical management.

Specific objectives and activities: