A study of global data on pesticides poisonings has revealed a shocking increase in the number of agricultural workers and farmers harmed by pesticides. The study reviewed scientific literature and publicly available mortality data from the World Health Organisation.
The findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Public Health, include:
- In the 141 countries reviewed, there were 740,000 annual cases of unintentional, acute pesticide poisoning (UAPP), 7446 fatalities and 733,921 non-fatal cases
- On this basis, the scientists estimate that about 385 million cases of UAPP occur annually world-wide including around 11,000 fatalities. In 1990, the last time such a study was conducted, UAPPs were estimated at 25 million
- The greatest estimated number of UAPP cases is in southern Asia, followed by south-eastern Asia and east Africa with regards to non-fatal UAPP. The highest single national incidence was in Burkina Faso, where nearly 84% of farmers and farm workers experienced unintentional acute pesticide poisonings annually
Kristin Schafer, coordinator of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International, commented: “These findings underscore the urgency of reducing and eliminating the use of highly hazardous pesticides; these pesticides are causing the unacceptable poisoning of those who produce our food, but also chronic health effects such as cancer and ecological impacts such as the collapse of biodiversity. Time for global action is long overdue.”
These findings underscore the urgency of reducing and eliminating the use of highly hazardous pesticides. Time for global action is long overdue.